May 25, 2019

We're bad, but hardly alone: Dolphins, Marlins and Panthers losing in historical context. New column; plus genuflecting to Warriors' epic greatness, getting to know Tyler Gaffalione, new Raconteurs video & more

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

1) It's SATURDAY, MAY 25. It's always football season, so it's always the right time to check out our 'Fins At 50' book for the Dolfans in your life. Learn more or buy on Amazon. 2) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Hot Button Top 10, why Rosen should start over Fitzpatrick, Le Batard Show in New York & more. 3) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook and Instagram.

MiseryNEWEST COLUMN: DOLPHINS, MARLINS AND PANTHERS LOSING IN HISTORICAL CONTEXT: Dolphins haven’t won a championship in 45 years, Panthers last won a Saddolfanhockey playoff series 22 seasons ago and Marlins haven’t made the postseason in 13 years or had a winning record in 10. (Even the reliable Heat missed the playoffs). So how bad do we have it in South Florida pro sports? I did the research and was stunned to find, for example, the the Fins' 45-year title drought doesn't even make the Top 20 for such futility. If misery loves company this your column, Miami, as we present the update Sports Fan Misery Index encompassing the 123 franchises in the NFL, NBA, MLB and NHL. To read our latest column, please visit Take Heart, South Florida. Were Bad, But Hardly Alone.

ScurryHEAT, REST OF NBA CAN ONLY GENUFLECT AT WARRIORS' EPIC GREATNESS: Golden State is in a fifth straight NBA Finals, the longest NBA streak since the Boston Celtics made a crazy 10 in a row in 1957-66. Unless you know something I don't, the Warriors are steaming toward a fourth championship in that span. After sweeping Portland in the West finals, it defies logic to imagine GS will now lose in the Finals to a Milwaukee team struggling to survive Toronto in the East. The Warriors are so good they win with Kevin Durant out injured. Steph Curry (pictured) is so good he has scored 33, 36, 37, 36 and 37 points in his last 4 1/2 games. Some say Durant is the best player in the NBA. I say he isn't even the best player on his own team. The Warriors and Curry are climbing the charts in terms of greatest teams and players ever. I explore all of this in my latest column, and also discuss the tough spot teams like the Miami Heat are in as they struggle to regain relevance in the deep shadow of a modern NBA dynasty. To read, please visit Riley, Heat, Everyone Else Chasing Warriors' Epic Greatness.

TylergFROM DAVIE AND GULFSTREAM PARK, THE FEEL-GOOD STORY HORSE RACING NEEDS: You may have noticed. I break from the Dolphins/Heat/ball sports rut whenever I can, as much as I can get away with, to write about different stuff. So the jockey who won the Preakness on Saturday (pictured) happens to be a young man who grew up in the town of Davie, with Gulfstream his home track. Now, at 24, he already has won more than 1,000 career races and $42 million in purse money. I think this third-generation jockey's story is worth telling, and knowing. Hope you might agree. To read it, please visit Meet Tyler Gaffalione: Local Jockey Who Made It (Really) Big.

Other most recent columns: Smart Decision A No-Brainer: Dolphins Should Start Rosen / Zion Williamson's Power to Reject the Lottery / Dreaming Of a Heat Lottery Night Miracle / All The Ways Dolphins Are Finally Headed Right / Inter Miami's Demolition Ceremony Begins Frantic Race To The Finish / Maximum Security's Disqualification Is Kentucky Derby's Ultimate Stain / Brady Is As Brady As Ever / Marlins Losing Big Now, But A Future Is Emerging / Welcome to the New America, Lexi Thompson.

THE RETURN OF THE RACONTEURS: After two albums (remember the songs "Steady As She Goes" and of course the sports staple "Seven Nation Army"?) and then a 10-year hiatus, The Raconteurs are back, led by Jack White and co-fronted by Brendan Benson (far right below), who is  the son of one of my best friends. Can't wait to see them in a live show again. Below is "Help Me Stranger," the latest video offered from their forthcoming new album: 

Select other recent columns: Dolphins Land Big Prize in Wilkins / Everything Aligning for Dolphins to Land Tagovailoa in '20 / Oh To Be Hated Again! Lean Times For Miami Sports / Why Tiger's Masters Triumph Is About So Much More Than Golf / In Joel Quenneville, Panthers Get Their Riley, Their Shula / Dwyane Wade Trilogy: The Last Star: Post-Wade, Miami Sports Is BereftWade Fittingly Goes Out A Winner And A 30-point Star and Thank You, Dwyane Wade, Miami's G.O.A.T. / Why Tannehill's Legacy Probably Isn't What You Think / Case For Kaepernick's Comeback As A Dolphin / Transgender-Athlete Firestorm A Necessary Debate / Across the Rio Grande to the PGA Tour / From Dark and Empty to Top Of the World: Dan Le Batard at 50.

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

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

Twitter @gregcote

May 17, 2019

Zion's power to defy NBA lottery. Latest column; plus ESPN's mock draft pick for Heat after Miami goes luckless in lottery; also, Rolling Stones' rescheduled Miami tour date, latest Back In My Day (Birthday Wishes!), The List & more

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

1) It's FRIDAY, MAY 17. Rolling Stones rescheduled tour date at Hard Rock Stadium is Saturday, August 31, it was announced today. 2) Find a link to my latest Back In My Day video (Birthday Wishes) on Twitter @gregcote. 3) It's Le Batard in New York Week in America! Live stage show Saturday night at Gramercy Theatre. Sold out. 4) It's always football season, so it's always the right time to buy our 'Fins At 50' book for the Dolfans in your life. Learn more or buy on Amazon. 5) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Hot Button Top 10, Dolphins pushing all right buttons & more. Also, join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook and Instagram.

Zion's power, right and options to defy lottery: Chances are Duke's Zion Williamson will end up a New Orleans Pelican, after they unexpectedly won the right to draft him No. 1 overall next month in this week's draft lottery. But Williamson has options to fight the system. We explore in our latest column. Please visit Zion Williamson's Power To Defy Lottery.

ESPN'S POST-LOTTERY MOCK DRAFT GUESS FOR HEAT: And with the 13th pick in the NBA Draft in June, the Miami Heat select ... Oregon center Bol Bol. That's according to a new ESPN post-
Bolbollottery mock draft today. If true, the Heat will soon have a Bol Bol to match the Marlins' Victor Victor. Bol (pictured) is a 7-2, 222-pound Sudanese beanpole aged 19, and of course the son of Manute Bol. He played in only nine games for Oregon last season, averaging 21 point and 9.6 rebounds. ESPN's explanation for its Bol-to-Heat guess: "Bol brings much-needed 3-point shooting and rim protection. He's a top-five talent in this draft, finding himself this low due to a season-ending foot injury, which is certainly a concern. Miami has a clogged salary sheet and very little star power to show for it, making this an important draft. A rebuild might be around the corner, considering this aging roster and the limited options for improvement in the short term. With that in mind, positional fit might not be as important as sheer talent and upside, which could cause the team to look at a younger prospect like Bol, who wasn't able to show the full extent of their abilities during the season. Bol might not be an ideal fit with this team's culture, considering the questions about his approach to the game, but there is little doubt that his talent looked worthy of a much higher selection than the late lottery before he broke his foot in December." My take: I think better fits and therefore better guesses might be, say, USC guard Kevin Porter Jr. or Indiana forward Romeo Langford. Bol would tempt if that foot checks out fine, but does a roster with Hassan Whiteside and Bam Adebayo wanna be thinking center?

Zionheat DraftlotteryNBA DRAFT LOTTERY NIGHT: HEAT GO LUCKLESS -- AGAIN -- BUT KNICKS BIG LOSERS: Miami had the 13th pick in the draft going into the lottery and stayed there, getting no help from the ping pong balls once again. This was the Heat's 11th time in the lottery. Miami has now stayed put five times and gone down six times, not once improving its lot. Big losers: New York Knicks, who thought they'd get the No. 1 pick and generational star Zion Williamson but wound up with the third pick and not Zion Williamson ..... Original post: In my newest column I'm having a little fun with the Miami Heat's loonngg odds in Tuesday night's NBA draft lottery, determining who picks where in the June draft. Miami is set to select 13th overall and likely will stay right around there. But! There is a 1 percent mathematical chance -- one in 100 -- that the Heat will draw the No. 1 overall pick (a.k.a Duke's Zion Williamson). It is 3.4% likely Miami will get a top-three pick. Do you believe in miracles? Why not dream! Take a flight of fancy with me. In the column I outline why the Heat is overdue some lottery luck. I list all the ways sports is often so kind to longshots and adept at delivering major upsets. And I detail how it isn't impossible for the lottery 1 percenters to luck into No. 1. It has happened before. Pictured right, straight outta your dreams: Zion Williamson in a Heat uniform. To read the column, please visit Dreaming Of a Heat Lottery Night Miracle.

Other most recent columns: All The Ways Dolphins Are Finally Headed Right / Inter Miami's Demolition Ceremony Begins Frantic Race To The Finish / Maximum Security's Disqualification Is Kentucky Derby's Ultimate Stain / Brady Is As Brady As Ever / Marlins Losing Big Now, But A Future Is Emerging / Welcome to the New America, Lexi Thompson / Rosen Has Chance To Turn A Good Dolphins Draft Great.

THE LIST: DOLPHINS' TOP INTERCEPTORS: Miami this week signed cornerback Xavien Howard to a lucrative contact extension through 2024. How his career interception numbers compare to the Dolphins' top five in career picks. IPG refers to interceptions per game: 

Player                                Ints/Gm     IPG      Years

Jake Scott                          35/84       .417     1970-75

Dick Anderson                     34/121     .281     1968-77

Sam Madison                       31/138     .225     1997-05

Glenn Blackwood                29/118     .246     1979-87

Patrick Surtain                    29/108     .269    1998-04

Xavien Howard                   11/35       .314     2016-present

Select other recent columns: Dolphins Land Big Prize in Wilkins / Everything Aligning for Dolphins to Land Tagovailoa in '20 / Oh To Be Hated Again! Lean Times For Miami Sports / Why Tiger's Masters Triumph Is About So Much More Than Golf / In Joel Quenneville, Panthers Get Their Riley, Their Shula / Dwyane Wade Trilogy: The Last Star: Post-Wade, Miami Sports Is BereftWade Fittingly Goes Out A Winner And A 30-point Star and Thank You, Dwyane Wade, Miami's G.O.A.T. / Why Tannehill's Legacy Probably Isn't What You Think / Case For Kaepernick's Comeback As A Dolphin / Transgender-Athlete Firestorm A Necessary Debate / Across the Rio Grande to the PGA Tour / From Dark and Empty to Top Of the World: Dan Le Batard at 50.

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

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

Twitter @gregcote

April 20, 2019

Luck and Tragedy: The Dolphins drafting 13th. New column; plus Fins landing Tagovailoa seeming likelier, lean times for our pro teams, 2019 NFL schedule, Le Batard Show hits road and sells out, new Mavis song & more

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

4201) It's SATURDAY, APRIL 20. It's 420 Day, when the cannabis culture celebrates its favorite hobby. Hmm. Based on folks I know who smoke weed, I believe every day is 420 Day. 2) Visit Hotel Robots! for the latest Back In My Day video that premiered on Tuesday's Le Batard Show on ESPN Radio and ESPNews. 3) Football is never done, and so it's always the perfect time to buy our 'Fins At 50' book for the Dolfans in your life. Learn more or buy on Amazon. 4) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Tiger's unexpected day of triumph, your shocking verdict on Miami's G.O.A.T, Ryan Fitzpatrick at Augusta & more. 5) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook and Instagram.

3at13DOLPHINS DRAFTING 13TH: TWO TIMES LUCKY, ONE HORRIFIC TRAGEDY: The Miami Dolphins were lucky to draft tackle Laremey Tunsil and lucky to draft linebacker/end A.J. Duhe. The drafting of running back David Overstreet in between ended in tragedy. Across a 40-year span, all those three had in common was that they all were selected No. 13 overall by Miami in the NFL Draft. With the Dolphin set to pick 13th again next week, we look back in our newest column at the three very disparate circumstances of the franchise's experience selecting at that spot. To read, visit Dolphins at 13: Twice Lucky, One Horrific Tragedy. Duhe, Tunsil and Overstreet are pictured left to right.

TuaMIAMI LANDING TAGOVAILOA SEEMS LIKELIER AND LIKELIER: A tough 2019 schedule (see below), very low season expectations (win over/under of 5) and the way next week's draft seems to be shaking out -- all are reasons why Dolfans should be increasingly optimistic about the Dolphins landing dream QB Tua Tagovailoa in the 2020 draft. We explore deeply in our newest column, online now and in Friday's print editions. To read, visit Everything Aligning for Dolphins to Land Tagovailoa.

Big4THE 'FORLORN FOUR.' LEAN TIMES FOR DOLPHINS, HEAT, MARLINS, PANTHERSThe Dolphins are re-tooling with a new coach, have Ryan Fitzpatrick & His Fabulous Beard at quarterback, are projected for an NFL-low five wins, and are crossing fingers to strike draft gold. The Heat missed the playoffs, have one or two sort-of stars, one or two could-be stars, but no real stars now that Dwyane Wade has retired. The Marlins were 4-15 when last I winced to check and are in the midst of a complete reboot in Year 2 of Derek Jeter. The Panthers, with Aleksander Barkov-led talent and a proven new coach, might have the best immediate prospects, which only means the Next Great Hope for any of our Big Four pro teams is resting with the franchise that last won a playoff series in 1996. This is my new column. Please visit Oh To Be Hated Again! Lean Times For Miami Sports to read.

DOLPHINS 2019 SCHEDULE: ONLY ONE PRIME-TIME BOW: NFL schedules out last night show Miami's only prime-stage game will be Monday Oct. 28 at Steelers, right after the bye week. Other notes: Five of first seven at home, but six of last nine on road. I  have a deeper analysis and how the schedule affects hopes of drafting Tua Tagovailoa in 2020 in my newest column. To read, visit Everything Aligning for Dolphins to Land Tagovailoa.

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NycshowLE BATARD TAKES HIS SHOW ON THE ROAD: Hey New Yorkers! (And others with money enough to travel!) May 18, Gramercy Theatre, New York City. Be there to catch a first-of-its kind live-on-stage version of the Dan Le Batard Show With Stugotz, including the Shipping Container, yours truly, and special and surprise guests. Visit Le Batard Takes Miami To Manhattan for my story on Dan's rather bold brand-building move. Tickets ($50) include the show and a post-show meet-and-greet with Le Batard and the whole crew. Tickets go on sale today/Thursday at 10 a.m. EDT right HERE. Act fast. Theatre only seats 500. (Actually 499 for some odd reason). Pictured is a promo for the show. Click on the image to see it larger. I don't know why they have me lounging casually on the roof of a speeding taxi. Looks dangerous. Also, possibly illegal. [UPDATE: Wow. This thing sold out in 2 minutes on Thursday!]

Our trilogy of Dwyane Wade Week columns: The Last Star: Post-Wade, Miami Sports Is BereftWade Fittingly Goes Out A Winner And A 30-point StarThank You, Dwyane Wade, Miami's G.O.A.T.

Other most recent columns: Why Tiger's Masters Triumph Is About So Much More Than GolfIn Joel Quenneville, Panthers Get Their Riley, Their Shula / Analyzing, Predicting Dolphins' Next Starting QB.

I LOVE MAVIS (AND THIS NEW SONG): Staple Singers icon Mavis Staples, about to turn 80 and still going strong, has a new album out May 10 called We Get By. Here is a song from it called "Anytime." Love the track. Bass line slays, funk sweats, vocals are great. Enjoy.

Select other recent columns: Bosh Honored On A Wistful Night Of 'What If' / Beckham's Miami Soccer Odyssey Takes Latest Detour / Will Diaz's Canes Justify 'The New Miami' Hype? Why Tannehill's Legacy Probably Isn't What You Think / Case For Kaepernick's Comeback As A Dolphin / 'Coach Crutch' Has Nova Southeastern Soaring / Dolphins Not Better Now Than When Last Season Ended / Trip to Miami Inspired a National Bobblehead Shrine / The Intrigue Left: Will LeBron Go Out On Top? / Transgender-Athlete Firestorm A Necessary Debate / Across the Rio Grande to the PGA Tour / From Dark and Empty to Top Of the World: Dan Le Batard at 50.

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

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

Twitter @gregcote

March 11, 2019

Latest Hot Button Top 10 (updated): See who's No. 1 and what else lands where this week; plus our newest column (Dolphins), Blake Shelton Friends and Heroes concert review & more

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

1) It's MONDAY, MARCH 11. Football is never done, and so it's always the perfect time to buy our 'Fins At 50' book for the Dolfans in your life. Check it out on Amazon. 2) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Marlins boss Jeter's toughest position yet, Radio Friday, latest Back In My Day video, final-season Games Of Thrones trailer & more. 3) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook and Instagram.

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: Miami on playoff pace now: Heat still a we-ain't-braggin' 31-35 but had won four in a row before Sunday's home loss to tough Toronto. Miami still is alone in 8th place in the East, holding the last playoff card. You know those coveted tickets you're holding to Dwyane Wade's final regular season home game? Looking now like he may have at least two more home games after that.

2. DOLPHINS: Team's makeover underway as free agency nears: Fins this week released WR Danny Amendola, DE Andre Branch and OG Ted Larsen, the three-veteran purge alone freeing up some $15 million in salary cap space with NFL free agency beginning this coming week. Don't expect the re-booting Dolphins to be big players, as evidenced by the signing of tight end Dwayne Allen. Does that mean the two TEs they drafted last year aren't very good?

3. UM BASKETBALL: Canes women disappoint in ACCs; men on deck: The 16th-ranked UM women are 24-8 after falling to No. 18 Syracuse 92-85 in opener of ACC Tournament, a one-and done that won't help Katie Meier's team in its NCAA seeding. The Canes men, after a letdown of a 13-17 regular season, open their ACC tourney Tuesday vs. Wake Forest in Charlotte. Jim Larranaga's guys would need a miracle run in ACCs for even a prayer to reach March Madness.

4. NFL: Raiders getting Antonio Brown: Brown is done griping about being a Steeler and now can begin finding ways to gripe about being a Raider after teams reached a trade agreement that will become official Wednesday. Oakland gives up only 3rd and 5th-round draft picks for Brown. Big winner? Derek Carr.

5. MARLINS: Even amid losing, Jeter says at least you'll have fun: Marlins CEO Derek Jeter, this week: "One thing you always remember is the experience you had while you were at the park. And that’s what we’re focusing on." While most teams focus on winning and the product on the field, the Fish's focus is the ballpark experience. Hmm. Marlins are 7-10 with three straight wins this spring training entering the next week. We havin' fun yet?

6. CANES BASEBALL: UM tops Georgia Tech in first ACC games: Canes retired Jim Morris' No. 3 before the Georgia Tech series that opened Miami's ACC schedule, and won Sunday to take two out of three games. Coach Gino DiMare's guys are 12-3 and may finally get some love in the new polls.

7. PANTHERS: Cats seeking another miracle on ice: After losing six in a row, erratic Cats followed a much-needed 6-2 win over Minnesota with Sunday's 6-1 rout of Detroit to go to 30-39 and move within seven points of NHL playoff pace with 13 games left. Do you believe in miracles? Big four-game road trip ahead will shape Florida's hopes. 

8. NBA: LeBron, Lakers season implode: LeBron James' first season in Los Angeles has been an unequivocal mess, and now TV analyst Jeff Van Gundy is on the air suggest the Lakers shoudl trade LeBron this summer. The bright side? The Lakers haven't been this interesting in years.

9. A-ROD: Alex Rodriguez, Jennifer Lopez trying knot: A[Rod, 43, and J-Lo, 49, announced their engagement. This will be Lopez's fourth marriage and Rodriguez's second, and each has two children from previous marriages. Hope the two can scrape together enough money for a decent wedding.

10. DONALD TRUMP: President partied with spa owner: President Trump reportedly partied on Super Bowl Sunday with a group that included the owner of the "spa" that got Patriots owner Robert Kraft busted in a police solicitation sting at a place suspected of human trafficking. Or, did that go without saying?

Missing the HB10 cut: The grueling Iditarod Sled Dog Race is underway in Alaska. Don't know who'll win, but I know who loses. The dogs ..... Had a bad week? Wasn't as bad as Real Madrid's ..... Twenty-one horses have died mysteriously at Santa Anita. Um, somebody wanna figure this out, please? ..... Fox Sports North announcer Doug McLeod was pulled from the broadcast of a boys’ state hockey tournament in Minnesota after saying one team’s fans should "get out the lynching ropes." McLeod needs a new title: Former Fox Sports north announcer ..... Dodgers reliever Joe Kelly strained his back while spending five hours minding the boiling crawfish at a Cajun party for teammates. I blame the Dodgers. His contract prohibited skydiving and motorcycle racing but said nothing of minding boiling crawfish ..... R.I.P., Dan Jenkins, sports writing titan ..... Update: Countdown now 2,659 days (give or take) until Miami hosts its first match in the 2026 World Cup.

Goretanny WakeTANNEHILL, GORE AND WAKE ALL BACK WITH DOLPHINS? WE EXPLORE: Making two things clear: 1. Not predicting this will happen! Miami is poised to move on from all three of ts biggest-name veterans, especially if it is serious about being fine with being bad this coming season; i.e., tanking. 2. The Fins' clear priority should remain finding its quarterback of the future in the 2019 or 2020 drafts, no matter what. Having said that, if the Fins are serious about being as competitive as possible this year, as they now claim, another year of RB Frank Gore and DE Cameron Wake begins to make sense. And, with QB options diminishing for Miami in both pending free agency and the draft, one more stopgap season of Ryan Tannehill -- at a reduced price! -- begins to seem a viable option as well. Worth exploring, anyway. And I do, here. Visit and read our latest column at A Case For Tannehill, Gore And Wake All Returning.

Other most recent columns: Jeter Gets Reminder Why Marlins Boss Is His Toughest Position Yet. Also: The Intrigue Left: Will LeBron Go Out On Top?, Transgender-Athlete Firestorm A Necessary Debate and Across the Rio Grande to the PGA Tour.

COTE GOES COUNTRY: A REVIEW: We saw the Blake Shelton Friends & Heroes concert last night at the Panthers arena. I looked forward to it -- but not for Shelton, who I think is OK but diminished by having turned into a cheesy music game-show judge. One of his friends on the bill, Lauren Alaina, I'd not heard of. But the three others? Really like a couple of Bellamy Brothers songs. Think Trace Adkins is great. And! John Anderson. OMG. I've been a fan since Seminole Wind and Swingin'. He's a country hero of mine, and the only other time I've seen him live was before a couple of hundred folks in a country western club. Here's the Shelton video announcing the tour below. Our quickie review: It was a 4 hour 15-minute marathon, much too long, largely because opening act Alaina played way too long and the delay after her set was way too long. It meant the concert really dragged before it ever really started. Not good. But the rest of the show was great. Shelton impressed with his stage presence and catalog, my man Anderson sent chills with the opening violin on Seminole Wind, and Adkins proved he's still headliner-quality with that sub-baritone of his. Drastically pare back the Alaina opening and you got you a nice concert format there, Blake.

Other select recent columns: Riley Scoffs At Retirement Because His Work Isn't Done / Wade's 'Last Dance' A Masterwork In How To Say Goodbye / Six Reasons To Be Hopeful About Marlins' Rebuild / Stain On NFL Stays Until Kaepernick Is Signed / He Was Wrong To Stiff Caddie, But Vilifying Kuchar is Wrong, Too / Why Murray Is Perfect Fit For Dolphins / From Dark and Empty to the Top Of the World: Dan Le Batard at 50.

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

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

Twitter @gregcote

February 21, 2019

Dwyane Wade's farewell season a masterwork in how to say goodbye. New column; plus 6 reasons for optimism as Marlins open spring training, latest 'Back In My Day' video (Men's Socks!), Miami's rank among best sports cities, Brandi Carlile & more

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

1) It's WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 20. Visit Greg Cote Tuesday for the best-of podcast from yesterday's Le Batard Show on ESPN Radio/ESPNews. Find below the video for the latest Back In My Day segment. 2) Anybody else think Presidents' Day is a lame holiday to have off? Or maybe I'm just bitter I had to work. 3) Football is done, but never too late to buy our 'Fins At 50' book for the Dolfans in your life. Check it out on Amazon. 4) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Hot Button Top 10, Kaepernick case settles, your Dolphins QB verdict & more. 5) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook and Instagram.

DwadeNO MATTER HOW SEASON ENDS FOR HEAT, WADE GOES OUT A WINNER: Heat are in Philly tonight to begin the season's second half, with Miami precariously right on the outer edge of playoff contention. Close call whether they make the postseason, but either way, Dwayne Wade, in his 'Last Dance' farewell season, is giving a lesson on how to retire, and when. To read my latest column, please visit Wade's 'Last Dance' A Masterwork In How To Say Goodbye. Wade, feeling the love from coast to coast, is doing it his way, going out on his terms and his timetable. Says No. 3: "For me, to be able to come back to Miami and make the decision this year that I was going to walk away from the game on my own -- under my own will -- it’s a good thing."

JeterAS SPRING IS SPRUNG, AN OPTIMISTIC TAKE (BELIEVE IT OR NOT) ON THE REBUILDING MARLINS : I ventured north to Jupiter on Monday for the first full-day of Marlins spring training and birthed my latest column. To read it, and I hope you will, please visit Six Reasons To Be Hopeful About Marlins' Rebuild. My six reasons are entitled Pitching, pitching, pitching; A burgeoning farm system; Potential future stars to watch; The broadening scope of the talent search; Stuff behind the scenes you don’t see; and A ‘Yankees South’ feel to the makeover. In the column I detail each and explain why these are all positives. I have been tough on the "Fire-Sale Fish" over the years, and was when the new Derek Jeter regime abruptly traded stars Giancarlo Stanton, Marcell Ozuna and Christian Yelich. But the return is becoming ecvident. There will be lots of losing in the short-term. But I think by around the 2021 season, the club's plea for fans' patience may be showing dividends. Pictured on Monday: Jeter chatting with new special adviser Jorge Posada.

Other most recent columns: Stain On NFL Stays Until Kaepernick Is Signed /  He Was Wrong To Stiff Caddie, But Vilifying Kuchar is Wrong, TooWhy Murray Is Perfect Fit For Dolphins.

MIAMI, START THAT EBULLIENT "WE'RE NO. 7!" CHANT!: The website 24/7 Wall St. (247wallst.com) lists the Top 20 "Best Cities for Sports Fans" in the U.S. (full ranking here) and Miami comes in a respectable No. 7, trailing only, in order, Los Angeles, Boston, New York City, Chicago, San Antonio and Denver. The methodology is vague but is said to include all American cities/metro areas with at Sevenleast one professional team in the NFL, NBA, NHL or MLB, with additional points given for number of teams, number of championships in past decade and consistency of winning, along with team payrolls, presence of major stars and "other measures related to overall experience of being a sports fan." The synopsis on Miami, condensed by me: "While Dolphins had their share of success in 1970s, Heat has been the winningest team recently, with NBA titles in 2006, 2012, and 2013. They are probably most remembered for adding LeBron James and Chris Bosh prior to the 2010-11 season. After six straight trips to the postseason, the Heat qualified in just one of the last three seasons. The Dolphins are most remembered for their perfect season in 1972. The Miami Marlins, who have made it to the postseason in just two of the 25 years of their existence, won the World Series both times — in 1997 and 2003. The Panthers won a conference championship in 1995-96 but have never hoisted the Stanley Cup. They qualified for postseason just twice (2012, 2016) in last 16 years. In Miami, it’s not the humidity, it’s the Heat." My comment: Should we really be lending credence to any gauge that calls L.A. the best city for sports fans?

NEW 'BACK IN MY DAY': MEN'S SOCKS!: Whatever happened to white socks for sneakers and black socks for dress shoes as the simple rule of footdom?

BRANDI CARLILE'S 'THE JOKE': Blog readers know what a huge music fan I am, and I'd heard of but not really knew of Brandi Carlile before seeing her performance of her song, "The Joke," at the recent Grammy Awards. I was blown away. By the song. By the performance. By the message.I hope it means something or moves you in some way as it did me:

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

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

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

Twitter @gregcote

December 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 08, 2018

Heisman Trophy poll: Which 2018 finalist should win? Last chance to vote!; plus NFL Week 14 picks for Dolphins-Patriots and the rest, Raconteurs news, Pearl Harbor Day & more

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

Pearl1) It's SATURDAY, DECEMBER 8. It was 77 years ago yesterday... 2) Visit Greg Cote Tuesday for the link to this week's LeBatard Show best-of podcast. Includes the new Back In My Day. 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): Ranking 7 bowl games of most SoFla interest, Herald NFL QB rankings, Pix 'n Fantasy results, latest Back In My Day video & more. 5) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook and Instagram.

Personal note: I've been burning end-of-year vacation days and so have not had as many columns lately. Here are a few of my most  recent: 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.

PicksNFL WEEK 14 PICKS: DOLPHINS-PATRIOTS, GAME OF WEEK, UPSETS AND THE REST: Our parade-worthy season of NFL picks continues as we're at a .689 winning percentage overall and .589 against the point spread entering Week 14. Last week’s 11-5 mark straight-up and 10-5-1 vs. the Evil Betting Line included yet another Upset of the Week bull's-eye with Jaguars handling Colts (“Aawwk!”), a mini-upset with Ravens winning in Atlanta, and four ‘dogs-with-polnts in Cardinals, Giants, Bucs and Jets. (Mixed start last night on the new week; had Tennessee winning, but misfired thinking Jacksonville would cover). We move on! The stretch run to the playoffs is upon is, and by my eye 14 of 16 games this week have a realistic bearing on jockeying for the postseason. Including Patriots-at-Dolphins, of course. Will Miami get the home upset it could dearly use? Our answer may surprise you. Visit Week 14 Gems for all of our latest picks.

HeismanHEISMAN POLL: WHICH FINALIST DESERVES TO WIN ON SATURDAY?: Tomorrow the Heisman Trophy is awarded to (ostensibly) the best player in college football for 2018. That all three finalists are quarterbacks is no surprise. That there is actual drama in who might win is a surprise. It was 2009 (Mark Ingram won) when we there was last doubt who'd win and the final vote was truly close. But that could happen again. Alabama's Tua Tagovailoa was seen as the clear frontrunner most of the season but now Oklahoma's Kyler Murray is seen as having drawn even with a great chance to take the famous stiff-arm trophy. Ohio State's Dwayne Haskins is a real longshot. So here's your vote. Who most deserves to win? Poll is alphabetical, of course. Vote now!

RacsRACONTEURS NEWS: Happy to know the Raconteurs are reuniting for a new album after several years. The sideband fronted by Jack White and Brendan Benson is now in the process of pressing the first single (see photo) from a forthcoming album, out soon. (Longtime careful readers know that Brendan Benson, pictured second from left here, is the son of one of my best friends...)

Select other recent 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 26, 2018

Canesfan Satisfaction Meter: 32.7%; plus UM beats Pitt 24-3 for 7-5 regular season; also, Tannehill's Litmus Test, Elton in Sunrise concert review, other state Collball & more

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

1) It's SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 25. Hope y'all are enjoying your long Thanksgiving Weekend! 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): Our Thanksgiving thank-yous, NFL Week 12 and Turkey Day picks & more. 4) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook and Instagram.

New column: Tannehill has 6 games to earn his Miami future: Dolphins QB Ryan Tannehill returns Sunday at Indianapolis from his latest injury, with Miami at 5-5 likely needing at least four wins in the final six games to make the playoffs. This is Tannehill's Litmus test. No excuses. He must stay healthy, and perform like the highly paid, top-10-drafted passer he is. This is my latest column. Visit Tannehill's Litmus Test Is Pass or Fail.

Other select recent columns: On LeBron's return to Miami with Lakers: Oh What We Had, And What We Lost. Also: Latest NFL picks: Week 12 Gems. And NASCAR Needs A Next Big ThingWade's World Bigger Than Hoops, And Good For HimHoneymoon Over: How Collapsing Seasons Put Heat on Gase, Richt.

CsmCANESFAN SATISFACTION METER: G12: 32.7%: Results are certified in the latest Canesfan Satisfaction Meter postgame poll, and they show 32.7 percent overall approval -- the combination of "very" and "somewhat" satisfied votes -- in the wake of Saturday's 24-3 Miami victory over Pitt putting Miami's final regular season record at 7-5 overall and 4-4 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 8:30 a.m. today/Monday. (The CSM also takes place on my Twitter site @gregcote. The approval rate there was 25%).

2018 CSM game-by game results

G1: 9.2% following 33-17 loss to LSU.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

G10: 12.6% following 27-21 loss at Georgia Tech.

G11: 50.0% following 38-14 victory at Virginia Tech.

G12: 32.7% following 24-3 victory vs. Pitt.

Next/Final poll: Date TBD following bowl game. 

PittmiaG12: HURRICANES 24, NO. 24 PITTSBURGH 3: UM DELIVERS PAYBACK WITH HUGE DEFENSIVE SHOWPostgame thoughts: A somewhat insane game. Miami mostly struggled early on offense -- especially in what turned out to be a comfortable win. N'Kosi Perry was pretty awful, going 6-for-24 for 52 yards. The total offense was 345 yards, but 148 yards of that came on three runs by Travis Homer. Great defense and DeeJay Dallas' 65-yard punt-return TD sparked UM in addition to Homer's 64-yard scoring run. The defense won this game, primarily. The good news? Canes finish a 7-5 season strong with two straight wins. The bad news (beyond this being a season of overall regression for the program)? The offense is still sputtering. Perry's proving is not complete. Miami will carry that into its bowl game, and likely into next season. Oh and by the way, Pitt is exposed as a thoroughly fraudulent rep in the ACC Championship Game. Clemson will name its score. The betting line should be 30 ..... 4Q: UM 24-3 on Dallas 3-yard scoring run. Game over. Rout on. Bowl next ..... 3Q: Canes' Davis loses fumble late in quarter ... UM 17-3 on Homer 64-yard TD run ... Pitt 3-10 on 40-yard FG abetted by pass interference penalty against UM ..... Halftime thoughts: At 10-0 at half, Miami's offense has done nada, with Perry 4-for-18 for 27 yards. But UM's defense has dominated, holding Pitt to 115 net yards, and a Dallas punt-return score gives the Canes their cushion ..... 2Q: Miami turnover. Homer loses fumble near midfield ... UM 10-0 on Dallas 65-yard punt-return TD. Score first was negated by illegal-block penalty but call was (properly) reversed. Was perfect block by Homer ..... 1Q: Perry struggling early (2-for-10, 18 yards) but defense enough to carry UM in opening quarter .... Canes' Bandy recovers fumble caused by Joghnson ... UM 3-0 on Baxa 37-yard FG after drive led by Homer's 47-yard run ..... Original post: Is it payback time (of sorts) for the Miami Hurricanes? We'll see in today's UM regular season finale at The Rock, a 3:30 kickoff on ESPN that will be the last home game for Canes seniors. Last season Miami was 10-0 and ranked No. 2 before a stunning 24-14 upset loss at Pitt sent The U's season crashing to three straight losses. "That game hurt," said Jaquan Johnson, one of UM's seniors. One year later -- exactly, to  the day -- it is Pitt, not UM, riding high entering this game and bound for the ACC Championship Game while Miami is headed for a middling bowl game. (Quick Lane Bowl in Detroit? Independence in Shreveport?) So now it is Miami in the spoiler role. The (barely) ranked Panthers are 7-4 to Miami's 6-5, but the Canes are big 5-point home favorites. I say big because it indicates bettors think Miami is the better team beyond the home-field edge. (That's questionable, and to be determined). Even after a slump-ending win at Virginia Tech, it has been a tough week for Mark Richt's Canes. First a top quarterback prospect canceled his visit to Miami, then dynamic receiver Jeff Thomas abruptly left the program in frustration. Another worry for Richt should be that Pitt arrives hot, on a four-game win streak, and with an offense averaging 247 rushing yards a game. On the other side, QB N'Kosi Perry will start a third straight for UM. "He's getting better and more and more confident," says Richt. "There were times where he missed a guy here and there [last week], but he managed the game well. You could just see his comfort level rising. One day, I believe you'll see him really come into a zone." Pitt challenges Perry with a defense that is closer to average than great, although Dan Marino's alma mater averages 2 1/2 sacks a game and is facing a shaky Miami offensive line. If the line protects Perry and he avoids turnovers, Miami should win at home, though I'd hedge by leaning to Pitt getting this many points. My pick: Hurricanes, 27-24.

OTHER STATE COLLBALL: There are seven FBS-level college teams in Florida. Here's chronological Week 13 schedule for the rest (all Saturday unless noted):

No. 9 UCF (11-0) beats South Florida (7-5), 38-10Unbeaten Knights, who had a game canceled, closed out second straight unbeaten regular season with Friday road win over state rival and will face Memphis next week in AAC title game. But UCF lost star QB McKenzie Milton to a gruesome, season-ending right knee injury, casting somber cloud over the win and season.

No. 11 Florida (9-3) beats FSU (5-7), 41-14: Gators, playing for poll 'n bowl position, were 8-point favorites at The Doak, with rival 'Noles taking their last shot at bowl-eligibility. It was the better team vs. home field and incentive. The better team won. And FSU sees its first losing season since 1976. It was a good run, Tally.

Marshall (8-3) beats FIU (8-4), 28-25: The ButchCats were 3 1/2-point home underdogs and never led, every rally falling just short. The loss eliminated FIU from a shot at reaching the Conference USA championship game.

Charlotte (5-7) beats FAU (5-7), 27-24: The home-nesting Owls were big 17-point favorites to get Lane Kiffin bowl-eligible under the wire. But: No bowl for you, Lane!

Week 13 national Top 25 matchups (5)No. 6 Oklahoma beats No. 13 West Virginia, 59-56; 16-Washington beats 8-Washington State, 28-15; 10-Ohio State beats 4-Michigan, 62-29; 22-Texas A&M beats 7-LSU, 74-72 (OT); and 23-Boise State beats 21-Utah State, 33-24. (Ohio State won't now leapfrog Buckeyes into CFP top four ahead of No. 5 Georgia ... will it?)

EltonsunriseELTON DELIVERS POWERHOUSE PERFORMANCE IN SUNRISE FAREWELL: We saw Elton John last night at the sold-out, filled to the rafters Panthers' arena in Sunrise as part of his continuing marathon farewell tour. The 2 1/2-hour show lived up to, and exceeded, expectations. The thought that kept occurring: This man is too good to retire. I don't care his age (71). Or that he sometimes seems that age when he is up from his piano and tottering around the stage. When he is seated before his keys, the years disappear. His playing is the best there ever was. His voice (save for the lost highest notes) remains robustly strong. His catalog of hits is top-tier in the history of pop music. The show is all hits augmented by a sprinkling of deep-album cuts such as "All the Young Girls Love Alive." A career retrospective on the giant video screen enhances the performance. I'm a lifelong fan (and admirer of his generosity and philanthropy) who has seen him in concert too many times to count. If you have not, your chances are running out, and you will have missed something special, and irreplaceable.  

Select other recent 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

October 05, 2018

NFL Week 5 picks: Dolphins-Bengals winner and all the rest; plus World Series rooting-interest poll. Vote now!; also, Canes-Noles Week = first (real) test for N'Kosi Perry, Rocketman trailer & more

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

1) It's FRIDAY, OCTOBER 5. 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. 2) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Tannehill falls in Herald QB rankings, NFL Week Pix 'n Fantasy, college State of State rankings, final 4-Man Outfield, latest Back In My Day video & more. 3) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook and Instagram. 

PerryCanes-Noles Week column: Perry's first (real) test: Through Mark Richt's smartly calculated design, the Hurricanes' emerging young quarterback N'Kosi Perry (pictured) has faced little to no pressure in his first three college appearances. That changes this week. Our latest column: We're About To Find Out About N'Kosi Perry. Select other recent columns: Whatever Happened to Kenyan Drake? And: With All D.Wade Has Meant, One Year to Say Goodbye Might Not Be Enough.

PicksUPSET BIRD DAY IN AMERICA!: DOLPHINS-BENGALS AND ALL THE REST OF OUR NFL WEEK 5 PICKS: The Dolphins are going to find it a tough go Sunday in Cincinnati, where the Bengals have their best offense in years and now get top RB Joe Mixon back from injury, as well as top defender Vontaze Burfict back from suspension. Read the full predix capsule at the top of my latest NFL predictions. They include my Game of the Week, Upset of the Week ("Aawwk!") and all of the rest. Our 28th season of Friday NFL picks (online Thursdays) is off to a solid start. We are a stout 42-20-2 overall and more importantly a strong 36-25-3 against the spread after starting Week 5 off big Thursday night. We had the Patriots covering 10 1/2 by beating Colts 34-20, and Pats won 38-24. Let's keep it going! Dive into Week 5 Gems for all of my latest picks. (Included is a separate link to Thursday's pick, or find it directly here.

MlbposBASEBALL POLL: EIGHT TEAMS STANDINGS. WHO YOU WANT TO WIN WORLD SERIES?: The two tiebreakers are out of the way. The two wild-card games are, too (sorry, Cubs and A's). Now we are down to the real postseason, the Last Eight Teams Standing, four in each league, with the division series having started Thursday in the NL and the AL unfurling today. And I'm curious: What's your rooting interest? Who do you want to win the World Series. Not who you predict will win -- who you hope does. Contending teams are listed alphabetically. Vote!

 

THE 'ROCKETMAN' TRAILER: As some know a movie is being made about the early years of Elton John. As others may know I'm a huge, lifelong fan of the man and his music (not to mention his philanthropic efforts et cetera). So I pass along this movie trailer with great anticipation...

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

September 09, 2018

Canesfan Satisfaction Meter (G2): 73.8%; plus UM routs Savannah State 77-0 as all 4 QBs play in home opener, with my game column; also, rest of state Collbal, NFL Week 1 picks, R.I.P. Burt, farewell Elton & more

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

Ejohn1) It's SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 9. Elton John kicked off his three-year farewell tour last night. Elton's farewell tour will last longer than most others' entire music careers. 2) R.I.P., Burt Reynolds, gone at 82. Saw him as Vic Edwards in "The Last Movie Star" last year. A real actor. Forget the cheeky "Smokey and the Bandit" stuff. Check out the serious roles. He'll be missed. Also was an FSU running back in the '50s. 3) Football's back and that means it's the perfect time to delight the Dolfans in your life with the surprise of our 'Fins At 50' book. Check it out here on Amazon. 4) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): LeBatard Show/League Of Lobos fantasy draft poll and results, MLS Miami gets name and logo, latest Back In My Day & more. 5) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook and Instagram.

NEW: Tonight began soft stretch in Canes schedule that's all about the quarterback: Don't be overly impressed with Saturday's 77-0 UM win, considering the utterly outmanned opponent. Be more impressed that coach Mark Richt played all four quarterbacks in a newly introduced effort to find a better Malik Rosier ... or his replacement. That's my new column. To read it: Canes Need Better QB; Auditions Underway. Other most recent columns: Don't Bail On Canes Yet, But... and NFL 2018 Team Rankings.

CANESFAN SATISFACTION METER: G2: 73.8%: Results are certified in the latest Canesfan Satisfaction Meter postgame poll, and they show 73.8 percent overall approval -- the combination of "very" and "somewhat" satisfied votes -- in the wake of 1aa1csmSaturday night's 77-0 home victory over Savannah State putting No. 22-ranked Miami's season record at 1-1. 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 9 a.m. today/Monday. (You may also vote on my Twitter site @gregcote; the unofficial approval there was 40%).  

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.

Next poll: Sept. 15 following game at Toledo.

SavumG2: NO. 22 HURRICANES (1-1) 77, SAVANNAH STATE (0-2) 0: A PAUSE TO CORRECT THE FLAWS AS ALL FOUR QBS PLAY: For my column from the stadium off Saturday's UM home opener: Canes Need Better QB; Auditions Underway ..... Original post: Here are two teams that could play, "Who's Coming Off the Worse Loss?" Savannah State, a second-tier FCS-level school, lost 52-0 to Alabama-Birmingham. But Miami's loss, given the stage and stakes, was worse: the 33-17 neutral-site collapse against LSU that sent the Canes cascading down the charts from a No. 8 national ranking to 22nd. Savannah State can't offer redemption this evening/Saturday at 6 p.m. at Hard Rock, but it is a chance for UM to get a little bit of feelgood back after a deflating opener. With the game off the betting boards because of its expected lopsidedness, it would be a bit concerning if Miami didn't cruise by a margin of at least 40 or 50 points. College coaches have it easy. Unlike in the NFL there are games like this one where winning is not a question, so you have the luxury to just flex your roster, tinker with what needs tinkering and not worry the least about the opponent or final score. In this case quarterback play will be under the microscope for coach Mark Richt, with starter Malik Rosier coming off an inaccurate opener that included a pick-six, and with at least two younger QBs expected to see action along with Rosier. The enthusiasm for this Hurricanes season took a huge hit with the opening-week loss. You don't get it back against an opponent like this one. But an impressive rebound win is a necessary first step. My prediction: Hurricanes, 62-3.

OTHER STATE COLLBALL: There are seven FBS-level college teams in Florida. With Saturday's Miami game previewed above, here's chronological Week 2 schedule (all Saturday) for the rest:

South Florida (2-0) defeats Georgia Tech (1-1), 49-38: Bulls had no problem with a small opening opponent (Elon) but now took a  big step up in competition with slightly favored Ga-Tech. And delivered.

FAU (1-1) defeats Air Force (1-1), 33-27: Lane Kiffin got spanked at Oklahoma in a 49-point loss but here was a comfy 9 1/2-point pick in the Owls' home opener.

No. 19 UCF (2-0) defeats South Carolina State (0-2), 38-0: Knights throttled UConn and now got another softy in an off-the-board mismatch. 

FSU (1-1) defeats Samford (1-1), 36-26: Noles tumbled from rankings (19th) after a 24-3 spanking by 20-Virginia Tech that ended new coach Willie Taggert's honeymoon right quick. Now they get to take it out on poor lil' Samford, Bobby Bowden's alma mater. Except they almost lost! Lucky Noles needed a late rally to avoid a monumental embarrassment.

Kentucky (2-0) defeats No. 25 Florida (1-1), 27-16: Gators entered poll, albeit barely, after 53-6 rout of Charleston Southern but their stay will be short-lived after terrible loss as 14-point Swamp favorites.  

FIU (1-1) defeats Old Dominion (0-2), 28-20: FIU opened with 10-point loss to Indiana but was 1-point road fave in this conference game, and neatly rallied from 17 down to win behind James Morgan's three TD passes. Of more gravity, two FIU players -- top RB Antonio Jones and OL Mershawn Miller -- were shot in a drive-by shooting in Opa-locka, a calamity for the families and the last thing coach Butch Davis needed. Miller's wound was minor. Jones' wounds are serious but non-life threatening and Davis said "encouraging reports" suggest a recovery.

Week 2 national Top 25 matchups: The only two: No. 3 Georgia defeats No. 24 South Carolina, 41-17; and 10-Stanford defeats 17-Southern Cal, 17-3.

Picks RtannyWELCOME BACK, UPSET BIRD! OUR NFL WEEK 1 PICKS: Oh lord here come our 28th season of Friday (but online Thursday) NFL picks. When we started this endeavor in 1991 Ryan Tannehill was a 2-year-old toddling around Lubbock, Texas and (if memory serves) Tom Brady was an NFL rookie. All these years later we haven't been fired yet are still at it. For Kickoff Weekend we bring you our picks for Dolphins-Titans, our Game of the Week, our Upset of the Week and more. Dive into Week 1 Gems for the whole package. (It includes a link to last night's Falcons-Eagles pick. Atlanta led much of the way toward our upset call; alas, Philly prevailed late). By the way, the Upset Bird is back. But please follow our picks, anyway. Pictured at right, our "How the Darts Landed" shield. At left, Tannehill is shouting at you, "Hey, read Greg Cote's picks, everybody. But only when he picks us to win!"

Other select recent columns: Canes Have the Hype. Now the Proving StartsDolphins? Heat? Nope. UM Football Owns This TownDolphins Must Make Us BelieveFinally, a Chance to Say Thanks (Stanton's return). NFL Enters Year 3 Of Anthem-Protest QuagmireGore Back In Miami Is The Perfect End RunDolphins Need a Better Tannehill, Not Just A Healthy OneTo The Good-Guy Grinder In The Shades (death of Tony Sparano). Soccer Stadium Progress, But Much Work LeftReasons For Hope As Jeter Plan Takes RootTime 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