Latest Hot Button Top 10: LeBron torches Heat (with new column), Logano wins NASCAR; plus Canesfan Satisfaction Meter: 50.0% in wake of 38-14 win making UM bowl-eligible; also, other state Collball (FIU wins) & more
GREG COTE'S RANDOM EVIDENCE BLOG: MIAMI. SPORTS. AND BEYOND.
1) It's MONDAY, NOVEMBER 19. 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): NFL Week 11 picks, your Gase/Richt verdicts, Marlins' new logo, Hassan Whiteside's gun & more. 3) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook and Instagram.
HEAVYWEIGHT SUNDAY IN MIAMI: LOGANO WINS NASCAR VS. LEBRON TORCHES HEAT: NASCAR ran its season championship race down at Homestead this afternoon with final-four longshot Joey Logano winning the season crown. And as the race was ending the Heat would tip off downtown against LeBron James' L.A. Lakers in his only visit of the season -- with Lakers winning 113-97 led by LeBron James' 51 points. Yes, 51! Pretty rare we get two events of that size on the same day. I took a Twitter poll on who you wanted to win the racing title and it could hardly have been closer: Kyle Busch 27 percent, Kevin Harvick and Martin Truex Jr, both 25%, and Logano 23%. Betting odds have it Busch and Harvick co-favorites at 11-4, Truex 6-1 and Logano 10-1. #WhyWeLoveSports
NEW: LeBron torches Heat column: From the arena Sunday night as Lakers' LeBron James drops 51 on Miami: Oh What We Had, And What We Lost.
Our latest other columns: NASCAR, NFL picks, Wade, Gase/Richt: NASCAR Needs A Next Big Thing. NFL Week 11 Gems. Wade's World Bigger Than Hoops, And Good For Him. And Honeymoon Over: How Collapsing Seasons Put Heat on Gase, Richt.
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:
1. HEAT: Miami hosts LeBron, LeBron torches Heat: LeBron James' L.A. Lakers were here tonight for their only visit of the season, and LeBron James' 51 points led a 113-97 L.A. win that dropped Miami to 6-10 in the continuing paternity absence of Dwyane Wade. Oh, and it was revealed Hassan Whiteside had a $50,000 assault rifle stolen from his unlocked car over the summer. That enough to digest for one week, Heat fans?
2. NASCAR: Logano wins season crown at Homestead: Mega-Sunday at Homestead-Miami Speedway as SoFla hosted NASCAR's season championship for 17th straight year. Kyle Busch, Kevin Harvick, Joey Logano or Martin Truex Jr. raced for the trophy, with Logano, the betting longshot, raising it.
3. HURRICANES: UM (finally) bowl-eligible after big win in Blacksburg: A bit of a sluggish start but the Canes came on and rolled at Va-Tech 38-14 on Saturday, ending a 4-game losing streak and getting bowl eligible at 6-5. Still a disappointing season, but UM fans were smiling for the first time in a long while.
4. MARLINS: Rebranding Fish unveil new uniforms, logo: The Derek Jeter's group's rebranding of the Marlins -- i.e., an attempt to make you forget Jeffrey Loria and David Samson ever existed -- continued this week the revealing of a new Marlins logo and colors. Rebrand and move new merchandise all at once. Brilliant!
5. DOLPHINS: Fins spend bye week with fingers crossed on Tannehill: Miami spends its bye off this week at 5-5 after having lost five of past seven games, with a trip to Indianapolis on deck. Ryan Tannehil and his shoulder, out the last five games, is supposed to return. Any hope for a playoff run is all that depends on it.
6. PANTHERS: Cats on road trying to get hot again: Florida is now 7-10 with two straight losses following a five-game win streak. Team is away three more games before returning home as fans still wait to see who the real Cats are in an uneven start to the NHL season.
7. SOCCER: Miami hosts international conference: Miami hosted "SoccerEx," a two-day global networking conference that drew soccer officials from 40 nations to Marlins Park. No announcement yet, but choice of sites is a strong hint where David Beckham's Inter Miami MLS expansion team might be playing while its new stadium is built at the Melreese site.
8. UM HOOPS: Canes women lose first game: No. 24-ranked Miami women were 4-0 after Katie Meier's squad notched 63-55 home win over 19th-ranked Marquette, but UM lost Sunday at Iowa State. Almost forgot, Canes men, with an easier early schedule, are 3-0.
9. COLLEGE FOOTBALL: Playoff picture remains steady: The top eight teams in the College Football Playoff ranking all won, so teams just below, such as now 10-0 NO. 11 UCF and No. 13 Florida, will have a tough time moving up. Can anything stop an Alabama-Clemson title game? Rhetorical question. Answer: Doubt it.
10. FIU: ButchCats win again, thinking title: FIU is 8-3 after Saturday's 42-35 win over Charlotte on coach Butch Davis' 67th birthday. Mostly, Panthers remain well in the hunt for Conference USA championship.
Missing the HB10 cut: Awards week in MLB and so your Marlins have now traded away the 2017 and 2018 NL MVPs in Giancarlo Stanton and Christian Yelich ..... Tickets now on sale for Miami Open tennis as event moves from Key Biscayne to Hard Rock Stadium. Aesthetic downturn, yes, but the curiosity factor is there ..... MLS playoffs get intense with first leg of conference finals next Sunday. Soon, Miami. Soon ..... Update: Countdown now 2,773 days (give or take) until Miami hosts its first match in the 2026 World Cup.
CANESFAN SATISFACTION METER: G11: Results are certified in the latest Canesfan Satisfaction Meter postgame poll, and they show an even 50.0 percent overall approval -- the combination of "very" and "somewhat" satisfied votes -- in the wake of Saturday's 38-14 Miami victory at Virginia Tech putting Miami's season record at 6-5 overall and 3-4 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 9:30 a.m. today/Monday. (The CSM also takes place on my Twitter site @gregcote. The approval vote there was 34%).
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.
Next poll: Nov. 24 following game vs. Pitt.
G11: HURRICANES 38, @VIRGINIA TECH 14: MIAMI FINALLY WINS AGAIN, FINALLY IS BOWL-ELIGIBLE: Final thoughts: Big plays defined UM's 38-14 win over Virginia Tech today in Blacksburg to end a four-game UM skid and make the Canes bowl-eligible at 6-5. Shaq Quartman's interception return to the Tech 3. Cam'Ron Davis' 42-yard TD run. Jeff Thomas' 51-yard punt-return score. And N'Kosi Perry's two TD passes without an interception. For me, Perry tightened his grip on the starting job. And freshman Cam Davis gives UM a lot to look forward to at running back. Miami was not consistently solid on offense and the defense allowed two long scoring drives. Still, after a dispiriting four straight losses, this is a huge day for a bowl-getting sixth win. This has been a disappointing season, but the Canes did not disappoint today with a nice road victory. 4Q: UM 38-14 on Perry-Davis 16-yard TD pass ... UM 31-14 on Thomas 51-yard punt return TD ... UM24-14 on Davis 42-yard TD run for biggest Canes lead ..... Halftime thoughts: Another teetering game by Miami. Offense again has been unimpressive, considering seven of UM's points were directly set up by a turnover. Defense has been OK overall but has allowed 76- and 75-yard scoring drives. Canes still must prove they're the better team ..... 2Q: UM 17-14 on Perry 1-yard TD run capping impressive 10-play, 71-yard drive ... VT 14-10 on 20-yard scoring run ... UM 10-7 on Perry-Langham 3-yard TD pass, after Quarterman interception and return to VT 3 ..... UM 3-7 on 33-yard FG, after Wiggins drops well-throw Perry pass that should have been TD ... VT 7-0 on 15-yard TD pass, after UM gouged for 5-play, 76-yard opening drive ..... Original post: Welcome to Saturday's Misery Bowl kicking off at 3:30 in Blacksburg before ESPN cameras. (Must be a slow week!) Trust us, when ESPN booked this game the Worldwide Leader thought it was getting something big. Instead it's getting oh what might have been! These were two preseason Top 25 teams expected to duel for the ACC Coastal division crown. This game should (theoretically) be to see who plays Clemson for the conference crown. Instead it matches two disappointing teams, also-rans scrambling just to get bowl-eligible. And both come in cold, Miami 5-5 after four straight losses, and Va-Tech 4-5 with three losses in a row. Sad! Two erstwhile proud programs trying to salvage unexpectedly down seasons and work an invite, at this point, to what? The Salad Bowl? Somebody has to snap their losing skid, and it'll be Miami, which opened as a 3 1/2 point favorite but saw that balloon to 6 1/2. And with reason. VT has been a bit of a nemesis for UM, which is 9-14 in the past 23 meetings and has lost four of the past five trips to Lane Stadium. That gives us some pause, yes. But more than that trend is this: the Hokies/Gobblers have one of the worst run defenses on Earth, and Travis Homer and DeeJay Dallas should run wild to alleviate pressure and burden from N'Kosi Perry. Also like The U's pass defense really limiting what Tech does best. People, if the Canes lose this game they flat-out don't deserve a bowl, any bowl. My pick: Hurricanes, 31-16.
OTHER STATE COLLBALL: There are seven FBS-level college teams in Florida. Here's chronological Week 12 schedule for the rest (all Saturday unless noted):
North Texas (8-3) beats FAU (5-6), 41-38: With Thursday night's loss, Lane Kiffin's Owls now have one game left to get bowl-eligible then pray somebody invites a .500 FAU.
No. 13 Florida (8-3) beats Idaho (4-7), 63-10: Gators, jockeying for poll 'n bowl position, were up 49-0 at half and coasted in mismatch.
Temple (7-4) beats South Florida (7-4), 27-17: The fast-fading Bulls allowed 17 unanswered points in fourth quarter to blow it again.
FIU (8-3) beats Charlotte (4-7), 42-35: The ButchCats, still with a shot to reach the C-USA title game, with a nice road win. And a happy birthday for coach Butch Davis!
FSU (5-6) beats No. 20 Boston College (7-4), 22-21: Nice little (small) home upset as the Noles stay alive (technically) at the Doak for bowl eligibility.
No. 11 UCF (10-0) beats No. 24 Cincinnati (9-1), 38-13: Huge! UCF extended its nation-best winning streak to 23 games and will host the AAC title game Dec. 1 after routing Cincy. ESPN's College GameDay was in Orlando to bless the Knights, one more reason for Canes fans to begrudge how the UCF program (until further notice) has surpassed UM.
Week 12 national Top 25 matchups (3): No. 3 Notre Dame beats No. 12 Syracuse, 36-3; 11-UCF beats 24-Cincinnati, 38-13; and 15-Texas beats 16-Iowa State, 24-10.
Select other recent columns: Moving Beyond Tannehill Smart But Not Easy For Dolphins. Dolfans, Your Team Is Not Easy To Love. No More Excuses, Florida Panthers. Tannehill: Requiem For A Quarterback. Whatever Happened to Kenyan Drake? NFL 2018 Team Rankings. Dolphins? Heat? Nope. UM Football Owns This Town. NFL Enters Year 3 Of Anthem-Protest Quagmire. 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.
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