November 19, 2018

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.

Lebronlakers Nascar LoganoHEAVYWEIGHT 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 GemsWade'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:

Hotbutton1. 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.

CsmCANESFAN 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.

MiavtG11: 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. 4QUM 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 postWelcome 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 DolphinsDolfans, Your Team Is Not Easy To LoveNo More Excuses, Florida PanthersTannehill: Requiem For A QuarterbackWhatever Happened to Kenyan Drake? NFL 2018 Team RankingsDolphins? Heat? Nope. UM Football Owns This TownNFL Enters Year 3 Of Anthem-Protest QuagmireTo The Good-Guy Grinder In The ShadesTime to Flip the Old Narrative On Miami As a Sports TownCan Riley Rescue Heat From Purgatory? When 3 World Cup Legends Were Ours.

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

Twitter @gregcote

November 16, 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Twitter @gregcote

November 13, 2018

Dolfan Satisfaction Meter: 5.8%; plus Fins fall 31-12 at Green Bay, drop to 5-5; also, latest Hot Button Top 10 (updated; are Collapsing Canes on top?), thank you Veterans & more

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

Vetday1) It's MONDAY, NOVEMBER 12. Veterans Day is when we honor all of those who have served in our military. Thank you! 2) Find results of the latest Canesfan Satisfaction Meter poll in the previous blogpost or directly 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): Hurricanes lose fourth straight with CSM poll, other state Collball, your Dolphins-in-playoffs verdict & more. 5) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook and Instagram.

Our latest columns: Sabermetrics ace and Red Sox adviser Bill James fell into hot water by saying baseball players are replaceable, likening their importance to that of beer vendors. By extension he meant athletes in general. But here's the thing. He may be right. I discuss in my newest column. To read: Bill James Struck A Nerve, But He's More Right Than Wrong. Also: Marino Set the Blueprint For Mahomes and State of Shock For Canes, Gators and Noles.

DsmDOLFAN SATISFACTION METER: G10: Results are certified in the latest Dolfan Satisfaction Meter postgame poll, and they show 5.8 percent overall approval -- the combination of "very" and "somewhat" satisfied votes -- in the wake of Sunday's 31-12 loss at Green Bay putting Miami's season record at 5-5. That ties for the season low. The DSM is a continuous weekly gauge of how Dolfans are feeling about the team and its direction. Right after each game I invite you to share your overall degree of satisfaction. Criteria for voting is your own, but I suggest fans consider the most recent game's performance and caliber of opponent, season as a whole, direction the club is heading and your overall degree of optimism -- all in the context of reasonable expectations. Results are certified official the morning after one full day of voting. In this case that was around 6:45 a.m. today/Tuesday. (The DSM also takes place on our Twitter site @gregcote. The approval rating there was 25%).

2018 DSM game-by-game results

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Next poll: Nov. 25 (after bye week) following game at Indianapolis.

G10: GREEN BAY 31, DOLPHINS 12: TEMPS in 20'S, PACKER POINTS IN 30'S. TOLD YA!: Final thoughts: Four field goals does not pass as decent offense in any world I know. Especially at Lambeau Field against Aaron Rodgers ..... 4Q: GB 31-12 as Pack add 38-yard FG. It's over, people ..... 3Q: GB 28-12 on Rodgers-Adam 25-yard scoring pass. This game feels over ... GB 21- Miagb12 on Jones 12-yard TD run. Like I said, FGs will nit beat Rodgers in Green Bay ... MIA 12-14 on 40-yard FG ... Halftime thoughts: Rodgers less than 100 yards passing? Gore kicking ass? Good, encouraging signs for Miami. But field goals will not beat Rodgers at Lambeau. Book that ..... 2Q: MIA 9-14 on 47-yard FG. Fins competitive, but will settling for threes come back to haunt? ... MIA 6-14 on 25-yard FG after red-zone fizzle ... GB 14-3 on Jones 2-yards TD run set up by his 67-yard run ... 1Q: Fins defense gouged for 67-yard run to arrange another Pack score as quarter ends ... MIA 3-7 on 37-yard FG after Pack fumble. A 3rd-and-8 sack forced the three ... Miami recovers fumble on punt return near midfield ... GB 7-0 on Rodgers-Adams 7-yard TD pass, capitalizing on Miami turnover ... Nice opening drive by Fins ruined by lost fumble. Shotgun snap to Osweiler looked fast and high, but catchable ..... Pregame: Patriots loss today means Miami can move within one game and re-energize whole season with win at Lambeau ... Starting OTs Laremy Tunsil and Ja'Wuan James both inactive today. Oh my. Good lukc, Osweiler! ..... Original post: Miami is a surprisingly not-terrible 5-4 and Green Bay is a surprisingly desperate 3-4-1 and yet the Packers are favored by a big 10 points in today's 4:25 p.m. Lambeau Field kickoff before CBS cameras. Why? Quotation of the week to Dolphins coach Adam Gase, who said it deadpan-perfect, when asked if his defense could carry the momentum of last week’s domination of the Jets into this Sunday’s game in Green Bay: "Aaron Rodgers is a little different than Sam Darnold," noted Gase. I might further note that Mr. Rodgers also is a little different than Brock Osweiler. And that temperatures diving into the 20s at Lambeau will be a little different for the Fins than the advantageous comfort of home humidity. I’m scrounging around for reasons to believe in a Miami upset, and finding the cupboard bare short of assuming least a couple of Dolphins takeaways. (Perhaps a pick by Reshad Jones, if he deigns to actually appear in the game rather than pouting on the sideline?) Reasons to not like the Dolphins today are easier to spot. Osweiler is gradually becoming Osweiler again; he has not thrown a touchdown pass for almost nine quarters. Miami is 1-3 away and the Gee Bees 3-0-1 at home. All four of Miami’s losses have been by double digits, and the Dolphins are on a 1-8 skid when kicking off as road underdogs. Miami’s best shot might be that Green Bay — after facing the Patriots last week and with roadies to Seattle/Minnesota on deck — might sort of not pay much attention to this game. Except the Pack’s scant margin of error in the playoff chase assures Rodgers and the Cheesers will be on high alert here, buoyed by the Frozen Tundra and the ghost of Vince Lombardi in a fedora. Bonus fact: GB’s offensive coordinator is Joe Philbin. How much do you figure he’d love to run up the score? The forecast for today in Green Bay: Temps in the 20s, Pack points in the 30s. My pick: Green Bay, 37-20.

Visit Week 10 Gems for all of our latest NFL picks. 

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

Hotbutton1. HURRICANES: It's four straight losses with UM's fall at Tech: With Saturday's 27-21 loss at Georgia Tech the Hurricanes are now 5-5, have lost four in a row, are not yet bowl-eligible and are 5-8 in the past 13 games. Let's all agree that the honeymoon is over for Mark Richt. Heck, at this rate, the divorce lawyers may be on call.

2. DOLPHINS: Miami fizzles on the frozen tundra: The Dolphins' defense handled the Jets in winning last week but Aaron Rodgers is different than Sam Darnold about as subtly as Green Bay temps in the 20s are to South Florida humidity. And so 31-12 Green Bay on Sunday has the Fins, once 3-0, now stalled at 5-5.

3. HEAT: Sputtering Heat brace for Sixers and Butler, then LeBron: Heat at 5-7 have lost two straight and five of seven as they prepare to host Philadelphia and newly acquired Jimmy Butler Monday night. Minnesota trading Butler into the East made Miami's playoff chase that much more problematic. Almost forgot: Lakers and LeBron here in seven days.

4. NASCAR: Championship Four is set for Homestead: Joey Logano and Kevin Harvick were joined by Kyle Busch and Martin Truex in the Championship Four for next Sunday's NASCAR title run at Homestead. The final two spots were filled in yesterday's penultimate race in Phoenix. Now the entire sport packs up and heads south of Miami.

5. SOCCER: Miami MLS wins stadium vote: The David Beckham group's embryonic Major League Soccer expansion franchise, Inter Miami, comfortably won voter approval on stadium plans for the Melreese site. Meanwhile the MLS playoffs continue with semifinals pitting Portland vs. Sporting KC and New York vs. Atlanta.

6. PANTHERS: Ice on fire! The Cats are heating up: Slow-starting Florida has now won four in a row to rise to 6-8 with Sunday's victory over Ottawa prior to a six-game road trip. Credit some of the rally to the return of goalie Roberto Luongo. They honored the late Bill Torrey, Panthers founding father, before Saturday's home win. All hail the Bowtie!

7. UM HOOPS: Canes men, women off and runnning: UM men routed Lehigh in their opener and will now beef up their record vs. a soft schedule until the serious games start in January, when we start paying attention for real. Meanwhile he 25th-ranked Canes women are 2-0 and continue relentlessly competitive under Katie Meier.

8. GATORS: UF protects ranking with big rally: No. 15 Florida scored the game's last 21 points Saturday to survive South Carolina in the Swamp, 35-31. UM and FSU have lost a combined seven games in a row, but The Gator (oh, and 9-0 UCF) are holding up the state.  

9. FIU: ButchCats sail to 7-3 record: Well at least one Miami college football team is winning. As the Canes marinate in a four-game losing streak, FIU is 7-3 with Saturday's 45-7 rout of UTSA. Overlooked program continues to climb under Butch Davis.

10. DOG RACING: State bans greyhound racing: Florida citizens this week voted to ban dog racing in the state, meaning some 6,000 suddenly retired racing greyhound may need new homes. Breathing a well-earned sigh of relief: the mechanical rabbit!

Missing the HB10 cut: State of Florida's election recount is underway in several key races. Depending on your point of view, it's a noble effort to get it right or screwing your candidate who thought he'd won ..... Alabama, Clemson, Notre Dame, Michigan: the CFP top four, uninterrupted ..... Would somebody give Bryce Harper and Manny Machado a bunch of money already!? ..... I'd like to report that the Duke men's basketball team is, like, really good ..... Update: Countdown now 2,780 days (give or take) until Miami hosts its first match in the 2026 World Cup.

Other select recent columns: Dolphins Win, But Under Cloud, Not RainbowTime For Faith In Richt, And PatienceMoving Beyond Tannehill Smart But Not Easy For DolphinsDolfans, Your Team Is Not Easy To LoveSnakebit AdamFamily TraditionVictor-y, Miami! Wade Reminds Us Why We'll Miss HimNo More Excuses, Florida PanthersTannehill: Requiem For A QuarterbackWhatever Happened to Kenyan Drake? NFL 2018 Team RankingsDolphins? Heat? Nope. UM Football Owns This TownNFL Enters Year 3 Of Anthem-Protest QuagmireTo The Good-Guy Grinder In The ShadesTime to Flip the Old Narrative On Miami As a Sports TownCan Riley Rescue Heat From Purgatory? When 3 World Cup Legends Were Ours.

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

Twitter @gregcote

October 23, 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

DOLFAN SATISFACTION METER: G7: 8.9%: Results are certified in the latest Dolfan Satisfaction Meter postgame poll, and they show 8.9 percent overall approval -- the combination of "very"
Dsmand "somewhat" satisfied votes -- in the wake of Sunday's 32-21 Dolphins home loss to Detroit putting Miami's season record 4-3. The DSM is a continuous weekly gauge of how Dolfans are feeling about the team and its direction. Right after each game I invite you to share your overall degree of satisfaction. Criteria for voting is your own, but I suggest fans consider the most recent game's performance and caliber of opponent, season as a whole, direction the club is heading and your overall degree of optimism -- all in the context of reasonable expectations. Results are certified official the morning after one full day of voting. In this case that was around 7 a.m. today/Tuesday. (The DSM also takes place on our Twitter site @gregcote. The approval rate there was 25 percent).

2018 DSM game-by-game results

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Next poll: Oct. 25 following game at Houston.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Twitter @gregcote

July 09, 2018

Latest Hot Button Top 10 (updated): See who's No.1 this week and what else falls where; plus your World Cup rooting-interest verdict, 4-Man Outfield & more

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

1) It's MONDAY, JULY 9. Surprise the Dolfans in your life. Give them our 'Fins At 50' book. Check it out on Amazon. 2) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): World Cup final-8 poll, LeBron to Lakers poll, the president and the press & more. 3) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook and Instagram.

I'm back!: Missed new columns from me lately? It's because I was on vacation last week. I'll be back with a new column later today. Meantime, our most recent columns: LeBron-to-Lakers A Decision Worth Applauding. Our four other columns from the past week: LeBron's 1 Choice to Meet His Legacy Head-OnMLS Miami Says All Are Welcome7 Reasons the Dolphins Could Be OK. And Time to Flip the Old Narrative On Miami As a Sports Town).

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. WORLD CUP: Unorthodox final four set to go!: It'll be neighbors France vs. Belgium on Tuesday and then England vs. Croatia on Wednesday in World Cup semifinal matches from Russia. No Brazil or anybody else from South America left. No world No. 1 Germany. Italy didn't even qualify. And no surviving team has won it all in at least 20 years. No matter the results from here, the 2018 World Cup will have been nothing if not ... refreshingly different. 

2. TENNIS: Top-seed Halep out as Wimbledon reaches midpoint: Unseeded Su-Wei Hsieh stunned No. 1-seed Simona Halelp as the forthnight at Wimbledon bounced to halftime with upsets galore on the women's side. Meantime her nanny revealed that new mom Serena Williams, still in play, missed her baby's first steps while practicing in London. Ouch. Onus now on Serena to win her first post-pregnancy major to make up for the missed milestone.

3. MARLINS: Realmuto an all-star; Fish ready to ride homestand to break: After closing victoriously at Washington Sunday the Marlins have a six-game homestand starting tonight to carry them into the midseason break for the July 17 All-Star Game. Catcher J.T. Realmuto will be the Marlins' lone representative in the ASG, selected as a reserve Sunday evening.

4. DOLPHINS: Low grade for Fins as camp nears: Oy! With Dolphins training camp poised to start in six days with rookies reporting, Miami's offseason is graded a C-minus in an ESPN ranking of how all 32 NFL teams have done. Only two teams (Carolina and Detroit) are graded lower.

5. MLB: All-Stars announced on Sunday: The selection show for the July 17 All-Star Game was last evening on ESPN. No Marlins were voted in, but catcher J.T. Reamuto made it as a reserve. Now comes a few days of baseball writers chewing over their list of top "snubs." (Bor-ring!)

6. NBA: Is LeBron-as-Laker any closer to crown?: LeBron James going to L.A. seemed a huge deal, but then champ Golden State also got better in summer free agency, and now one wonders if LeBron is any closer to what he wants now than he was in Cleveland. The answer may lie in the biggest offseason prize left: Kawhi Leonard. Will the Spurs trade him? And to whom?

7. HEAT: Miami continues in Summer League play: Quiet on the free agency front, the Heat are now 0-2 in the NBA Summer League in Las Vegas after going 2-1 in Sacramento. Miami next faces Utah on Tuesday. Derrick Jones Jr. has been tearin' it up. Um, can we even pretend we really care?

8. NASCAR: Jones survived wreck-o-rama: Erik Jones didn't so much win as survive a wreck-filled race at Daytona for his first NASCAR title. Meantime Brad Keselowski vowed to wreck blockers moving forward. By the time the race finished it felt like there'd been more yellow flags than cars left on the track. 

9. UFC: Cormier wins heavyweight title: Daniel Cormier defeated Stipe Miocic to win the heavyweight championship at UFC 226. The obvious question arising from the bout? Who on Earth names their baby boy "Stipe"?

10. THAI RESCUE: Cave rescues begin: The first four boys have been removed from that flooded cave in Thailand. A soccer team and their coach have been trapped. I just bet big that they'll be honored on the ESPY Awards. There's a wager for everything, isn't there!

Missing the HB10 cut: Scandal rocks the Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest! Apparently some of the totals were suspect. No wonder. You couldn't pay me enough to judge that mess. I get nauseous just watching ..... The Big3 basketball league is back. Some things you can't stop no matter how hard you try ..... The Tour de France is underway. Gentlemen, start your PEDs? ..... The British Open is in 11 days. You know it's a slow time on the sports calendar when we're counting down to the British Open ..... Update. Countdown now 2,906 days (give or take) until Miami hosts its first match in the 2026 World Cup.

EnglandPOLL RESULT: YOUR WORLD CUP ROOTING INTEREST? ENGLAND ALL THE WAY!: With the World Cup down to its final eight teams (before the paring to four), we asked, "Which of the final eight teams do you hope wins it all?" Your results, among the four surviving teams: England with 32.89 percent, Belgium 14.91%, France 9.18% and Croatia 8.60%. Among the now-eliminated teams it was Brazil 11.47%, Uruguay 10.90%, Russia 6.12% and Sweden 5.93%. Considering it was a combined 65.58% for the surviving teams and 34.42% for the ousted ... you got the final four you wanted.

4manof'THE FOUR-MAN OUTFIELD' (UPDATED): WILL BRINSON EVER GET TO .200?Throughout the MLB season -- just for fun -- I'm comparing and updating the ongoing performances of the three Marlins outfield starters traded away during the offseason and current Marlins center fielder Lewis Brinson, the best prospect to arrive in the deals. Unfair to compare three established stars with a rookie? Boo hoo. Who said life was fair! Plus, remember: Just for fun! We base our rankings on OPS (on-base plus slugging). The updated 4-Man Outfield appears every Sunday and Monday in the blog. The latest:

Player, Team                                  OPS     G   AB   R   H   BI   D-T-HR    AVG. 

1. Giancarlo Stanton, Yankees       .852   86  337  52  90   51  17-1-21     .267

2. Christian Yelich, Brewers           .821   74  281  55  80   36  12-2-11     .285

3. Marcell Ozuna, Cardinals           .714   85 331  36  91   47   9-1-10      .275

4. Lewis Brinson, Marlins               .570   84  290  22  54   30   6-4-10     .186

OUR APSE-HONORED COLUMNSThe Associated Press Sports Editors 2018 writing awards ranked me a Top 10 national sports columnist in the major-outlet category. Thanks, APSE. Here are the 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.

Other select more recent columnsCan Riley Rescue Heat From Purgatory? When 3 World Cup Legends Were OursEnd the Illogical Shame and Get Howard in the HallJeter Must Restore Faith Before He Can WinTannehill's Defining SeasonHeading For Home: An Ode to Jim Morris. (For our column page, browse MiamiHerald/GregCote).

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

Twitter @gregcote

February 19, 2018

Latest Hot Button Top 10 (updated): After a week when tragedy overshadowed everything in sports; plus column on Derek Jeter's decimation of Marlins as spring training begins & more

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

1) It's MONDAY, FEBRUARY 19. The Dolfans in your life don't know it yet, but they need this. Click on Amazon or Barnes & Noble to check out our book, Fins At 50. 2) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Stoneman Douglas tragedy with column and GoFund Me page & more. 3) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook and Instagram.

Latest column: On Derek Jeter's Marlins as spring training begins: He can spin it and try to justify it any way he wishes, but Derek Jeter's massive Marlins salary dump is a betrayal of public trust. The Marlins are tanking because the new owners have put the bottom line above the product on the field and above the paying customers. To read my latest column, click: Jeter's Shameful Decimation Of Marlins Overshadows Season

My column on Stoneman Douglas shooting tragedy, ICYMI: Seventeen were killed last week in a shooting spree at Parkland's Stoneman Douglas High carried out by a coward with an assault weapon, a deranged former student who'd been expelled. Something like this, by the way, is why I, unlike most sports writers, never use words like 'tragedy' or 'disaster' to describe a knee injury or an awful season. This is a tragedy. For my column, click: Sports Mourns. We All Mourn, Then Wait For The Next Tragedy While Leaders Do Nothing.

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, but from a Miami perspective, as the sports week just past pivots to the week ahead. This week's HB10:

Hot1. STONEMAN DOUGLAS: Mass shooting at local high school kills 17: Seventeen innocents were murdered at Parkland's Marjory Stoneman Douglas High in a mass shooting that stunned the sports world as much as it did the rest of us. The perpetrator: A 19-year-old former student with an assault weapon who is now in custody. Another tragedy wrought by a deranged mind with a military-grade killing machine. The United States shames itself by continuing to allow these weapons to be sold.

2. HEAT: Slumping Miami hanging on at All-Star break: Heat has lost seven of past eight, is 1-2 since Dwyane Wade's return and has fallen to 8th place in the East. All-Star Weekend in L.A. came as a welcome diversion, with Goran Dragic in the main game Sunday, scoring two points in 11 minutes off the bench in a 148-145 Team LeBron win, after Wayne Ellington did Saturday's 3-point contest. Heat are off 'til Friday, at New Orleans.

3. MARLINS: Fire-sale Fish begin spring training for real Monday: What's left of the Miami Marlins opens spring training for real with Monday's first full-squad work up in Jupiter, with the first spring game only four days later. And -- other than new owner Derek Jeter being a colossal disappointment by trading away Giancarlo Stanton, Christian Yelich, Marcell Ozuna and Dee Gordon in a massive salary dump -- it's been a great offseason!

4. OLYMPICS: Winter Games into final week in South Korea: Entering Monday's play Team USA was tied for fourth in gold medals won and tied for sixth in total medals won. Are we OK with that, or are we jingoists crestfallen because America should be No. 1 in everything and at all times?

5. UM BASKETBALL: Canes men's program cleared in FBI probe: Canes men have lost three straight and are back out of the Top 25 after Saturday's home loss to Syracuse. The good news? The UM program -- linked before season to FBI national probe of recruiting corruption -- went a long way to being cleared when charges were dropped against the AAU director accused of funneling money from Adidas to persuade one player to sign with Miami. Wonder if FBI sent Jim Larranaga an "Oops. Sorry, our bad" Hallmark card?

6. PANTHERS: Hot Cats inching up in playoff chase: The good news? Panthers have won seven of past eight games after Saturday's win at Calgary and have within six points of playoff pace. The bad news? Six down is still a lot, and 12th in the East means a lots of teams to still climb over with only 26 games left.

7. UM BASEBALL: Jim Morris' final season underway: It was Play ball! Friday in a season-opening weekend home series for 24th-ranked Canes baseball vs. Rutgers -- UM taking two of three games. Miami is trying to return to NCAA playoffs after missing last year for the first time in four decades. This is the 25th and last season for Morris, who'll then retire. His Canes teams have reached 13 College World Series and won two. Three would be a charm for the coach in the No. 3 jersey.

8. NASCAR: Vroom! Dillon takes Daytona 500 in season opener: Austin Dillon won Sunday's season-opening Daytona 500 -- leading only on the final lap. The emotional tug came from the season starting without retired Dale Earnhardt Jr., and from Danica Patrick running in her final Daytona 500.

9. HURRICANES: UM football sets spring dates: Hot off a national top-10 recruiting class, Canes announced spring practice would commence March 20 -- highlighted by Malik Rosier trying to fend off challengers in an open competition for the starting quarterback job. Meanwhile, coach Mark Richt will host an "All Pro Dad Father & Kids Experience" at Hard Rock Stadium on February 24. Visit AllProDad.com for more.

10. SOCCER: Champions League matches continue: The 32-team UEFA Champions League continues toward its May conclusion with matches Tuesday and Wednesday including club giants Bayern Munich, Barcelona and Manchester United. You are following this avidly or not at all. No in-between, sorry.

Missing the HB10 cut: The weekend "Monster Truck Jam" wraps up Sunday at Marlins Park. Turns out it looks even more ridiculous in person than it does on TV ..... Headline: 'Arizona male cheerleader booted from arena for heckling Arizona State during basketball game.' Ah, sportsmanship! ..... Fox News host Laura Ingraham blasted LeBron James for his criticism of Donald Trump, essentially tell LeBron to "shut up and dribble" just like the president's aides told her to.

POLL RESULT: OPINIONS OF JETER 'VERY UNFAVORABLE': We asked, "What is your impression of the job Derek Jeter has done so far as CEO of the Miami Marlins?" And it was 75.58 "very unfavorable." the other three categories -- very favorable, somewhat favorable and somewhat unfavorable -- all tied with 8.14%.

AccordinionDEAR GREG...: "Dear Greg, Your blog's OK but would be much better if occasionally you would show a picture of a street musician playing the accordion while dressed like a giant creepy rodent-type thing and staring menacingly at the camera. Thank you." Dear Reader, I would but where on Earth am I going to find something like that!? Please be a little more reasonable with your requests in the future.

Select other recent columns: UM Morally Right, But Will the Force (Majeure) Be With Them? LeBron Wins In Latest Power Play, But So Does Miami. Our Dwyane Wade homecoming trilogy: Only 3 Points, But He Owned The Night / Heat Have Big Plans For Wade 2.0 / Welcome Home, D.Wade. Also: Richt Building Something Big & Something To LastDear Canton: Call Zach. Exploring Dolphins' QB QuandaryFarewell, RubinBeckham's Dream Becomes A TeamAppreciating Wayne HuizengaWhen Victims Seize The PowerNo Way to Escape Her ShameStanton Had All the Power -- And Used ItDo We Trust Jeter To Fix Marlins?The Hurricanes Are Back; Deal With It, AmericaThe Godfather SpeaksJeter Betting On JeterHope That Wasn't GoodbyeWade Will End Where He BelongsRegret, Tears & a Legacy's Dark Shadow. Specials: Thank You, Mae RibackThank You, Edwin Pope.

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

Twitter @gregcote

February 13, 2018

The new 'Back In My Day' video (Strange Signs!); plus LeBron wins in Cavs' mega-trade, but Heat won, too. My column; also, latest Hot Button Top 10, our D.Wade welcome-back trilogy, your Winter Olympics verdict & more

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

1) It's TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 13. The Dolfans in your life may not know it yet, but they need this. Click on Amazon or Barnes & Noble to check out Fins At 50, our ultimate franchise history book. 2) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Dwyane Wade returns to Heat, rating Hurricanes' Top 10 recruits, Winter Olympics poll & more. 3) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook and Instagram.

THE NEW 'BACK IN MY DAY': STRANGE SIGNS!: The latest installment in our BIMD series, from today's LeBatard Show on ESPN Radio and ESPNU:

LEBRON FLEXED HIS POWER AND WON AGAIN ... BUT SO DID THE HEAT: As usual, in-charge LeBron James won big in last week's Cleveland Cavaliers mega-trade. He gets a better team for another run to the NBA Finals. He gets a few months to decide if it's good enough to make him stay. And as a bonus he gets to put a smile on best buddy Dwyane Wade's face. My latest column: Click LeBron Wins In Latest Power Play, But So Does Miami to read.

Wade3HOMECOMING: THE DWYANE WADE TRILOGY: Dwyane Wade's sudden, unexpected and warmly received return to the Miami Heat by trade this week delighted South Florida. The news was all-ways good. Good for Wade. Good for the Heat. Good for Miami and its fans. Good from an emotional view. And good from a basketball standpoint, too. I responded to the big reunion with three columns: ICYMI, click Only 3 Points, But He Owned The Night for my column from the arena Friday night as emotion and applause enveloped No. 3. Click Heat Have Big Plans For Wade 2.0 for my middle column on role Pat Riley and Erik Spoelstra envision. And click Welcome Home, D.Wade for my initial column reacting to Thursday's trade.

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, but from a Miami perspective, as the sports week just past pivots to the week ahead. This week's HB10:

Hot1. HEAT: Dwyane Wade returns!: It wasn't a basketball game it was a love-in as Dwyane Wade returned to the Heat after 1 1/2 seasons away and estranged from the club. He scored only three points in his homecoming game but it sounded like 30 as Miami fans showed No. 3 the love. Welcome back, D.Wade. After all, the 3-0-5 starts with what number again?

2. HURRICANES: Mark Richt, UM score top-10 recruiting class: Canes football scored a National Signing Day bounty of 23 players that was ranked No. 8 in the nation by both ESPN and recruiting bible 247sports.com. That's the good news. The bad? One of the schools ranked even higher is the powerhouse team UM must catch in the ACC: Clemson.

3. MARLINS: Decimated Fish prepare to open spring training: The Marlins held their annual FanFest at the stadium Saturday, although we'd call it SadFest after a Derek Jeter fire sale that plundered the roster of its four biggest stars. Now spring training in Jupiter begins this Wednesday with pitchers and catchers reporting. The season outlook is bleak. And that's the positive spin.

4. OLYMPICS: Winter Games underway in South Korea: Curling, skeleton, frostbite -- all of the wintry sports we love are back as the world competes in Pyeongchang. U.S. speedskater Shani Davis skipped the Opening Ceremony after losing a coin flip to be flag bearer. Ah, sportsmanship! 

5. PANTHERS: Erratic Cats still a playoff longshot: Florida has won four of its past five games as it begins a five-game road trip tonight in Edmonton, but the recent hot streak -- OK, tepid, at least -- has not repaired the season outlook. The Panthers are nine points off playoff pace and will need one of Al Michaels' miracles on ice to reach the NHL postseason.

6. UM BASKETBALL: Canes prepare to host No. 2 Virginia: Jim Larranaga's guys can't stand good fortune. They finally climb back into the Top 25 and then lose one they shouldn't  have to Boston College Saturday. Now they host No. 2 Virginia on Tuesday in a gauge-game that will tell us how good the 18-6 Hurricanes really are.

7. SOCCER: Miamian elected president of U.S. Soccer: Carlos Cordeiro, 61, of Miami Beach, was named new president of U.S. Soccer, and is the first Hispanic in the role. Considering the U.S. men's national team men just embarrassingly failed to qualify for this summer's World Cup, he has his work cut out. 

8. NBA: Countdown 6 days 'til All-Star Game: The NBA All-Star Game is next Sunday in Los Angeles, and it'll be Team LeBron James vs. Team Steph Curry in a game sure to include no defense whatsoever. Last year the Western Conference won, 192-182, the highest-scoring ASG ever. The Washington Generals play better D against the Harlem Globetrotters.

9. UM BASEBALL: Jim Morris' final season on deck: Opening Day for Canes baseball is this coming Friday, and it's the final season for longtime coach Jim Morris before retiring. Last year UM's decades-long streak of NCAA Tournament appearances ended. Let's see if Morris can fashion a proper exit for himself. Omaha, anyone?

10. TENNIS: Serena commits to Miami Open: The tournament starts March 19 in its final time on Key Biscayne before moving to Hard Rock Stadium, and the top men and women in the world will be here. That will include new mom Serena Williams in her first major tournament since giving birth five months ago. She could play while holding the baby and still win. 

Missing the HB10 cut: The new NASCAR season begins next Sunday with the Daytona 500. Emotional highlight? How about the final Daytona ride for Danica Patrick? Few athletes have ever been more popular with less winning. That's a compliment. Sort of ..... Everybody seems to think the Patriots dynasty is finished. Well, I should say everybody except the millions whose early bets on next season have made New England the Super Bowl favorite. Again ..... Philadelphia held its championship parade for the Eagles. Really slow parade, though, because all of the players were riding in overturned cars ..... Boston sportswriter Ron Borges catching a lot of heat by being duped into a false story. How about a little heat, please, for the idiot who perpetrated the hoax? ..... There will be a Monster Jam truck event next weekend at Marlins Park. Those are the stupid-big trucks on enormous tires that bounce over dirt hills, the curious popularity of the event verifying what P.T. Barnum said about there being a sucker born every minute.

POLL RESULT: INTEREST IN WINTER OLYMPICS IS LUKEWARM: We asked what best describes your interest level in the Winter Olympics, and results were widely split. It was 35.58 percent "moderate," 30.77% "low," 20.19% "uninterested" and 13.46% "keen." That's low-or-non edging keen-to-moderate by 50.96% to 49.04%.

Select other recent columns: Richt Building Something Big & Something To Last. Dear Canton: Call Zach. 7-7-7. Also: The Historic Super Bowl the NFL NeedsExploring Dolphins' QB QuandaryFarewell, RubinBeckham's Dream Becomes A TeamA Heart Both Broken And Soaring Wins PegasusThe Upside Of a Fire SaleAppreciating Wayne HuizengaWhen Victims Seize The PowerAnd Barkov Shall Lead ThemNo Way to Escape Her ShameCanes' Late Swoon, OB Loss Don't Erase the Progress. Where The Swagger Was BornStanton Had All the Power -- And Used ItDo We Trust Jeter To Fix Marlins?Truex Jr. Takes Trophy, But Dale Jr. Wins The DayA QB, a Crisis & a Father's Love. The Hurricanes Are Back; Deal With It, AmericaThe Godfather SpeaksJeter Betting On JeterHope That Wasn't GoodbyeWade Will End Where He BelongsLarranaga Has Canes Flying High, Now ThisRegret, Tears & a Legacy's Dark Shadow. Specials: Thank You, Mae RibackThank You, Edwin Pope.

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

Twitter @gregcote

January 06, 2018

Last day to vote! What was Miami/South Florida's biggest sports story of 2017? Annual poll. Our 18 finalists, you pick top 6. Vote now; plus your biggest-national-story verdict, our NFL playoff picks & more

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

1) It's SATURDAY, JANUARY 6. A happy birthday to Dolphins icon Don Shula, who turned 88 Thursday. Here's to many more! 2) Click on Amazon or Barnes & Noble to check out Fins At 50, our Dolphins book. 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Annual national-sports-story-of-the year poll, final SOPY standings, latest Back In My Day video, R.I.P. Mae Riback & more. 4Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook and Instagram.

WHAT WAS MIAMI/SOUTH FLORIDA'S BIGGEST SPORTS STORY OF 2017?We had it easy in 2016 with three stories that clearly stood out above the rest, although two made us sad. You voted the Miami17tragic death of Jose Fernandez the biggest story of the year, followed by the Dolphins ending their eight-year playoff drought and then Dwyane Wade leaving the Heat. Nothing else was close. But is anything as clear-cut for for 2017? We'll see. And you'll decide. Previously we asked you to name the past year's top national sports story and you did (with results below). Now we invite you to select the 2017 Miami/South Florida sports story of the year, from a randomly presented top 18 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. OK. Ready? Vote!

VOTE FOR YOUR TOP SIX (6)

Deciphering a 6-vote poll: A six-vote poll means the maximum percentage for any one story would be 16.67 percent if every participant voted the max six times. Any vote above 16.67 means some voted only for that story. Multiply the percents above times six for an idea how often that story is being included on the consensus top-six ballot.

NFL player protests voted biggest 2017 national story: We asked what was the biggest national sports story of 2017, gave you The Associated Press Top 10 in jumbled order, and allowed you to vote for your top three. That means the highest vote total possible would be 33.3 percent if every participant used all three votes. Triple the percentages below for an idea how often that story was included in the consensus of top threes. Your results:

1. NFL player protests over social justice draws critics led by President Trump--20.14

2. Astros win 1st World Series to lift city devastated by Hurricane Harvey--19.72

3. Patriots, in year of Tom Brady suspension, stage record rally to win Super Bowl--14.31

The rest: U.S., Italy fail to qualify for men's World Cup--12.21%; Conor McGregor vs. Floyd Mayweather--9.03%; Clemson rally beats Alabama for college football title--8.06%; College basketball investigated by FBI over recruiting corruption--5.69%; Golden State led by Kevin Durant wins NBA Finals--4.17%; USA Gymnastics rocked by sex-abuse scandal involving team doctor--3.75%; Russia banned from upcoming Winter Olympics over doping--2.92%.

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

Twitter @gregcote

November 21, 2017

Dolfan Satisfaction Meter: 3.6%. Approval rating stays in gutter; plus Miami falls late to Bucs, 30-20, for 4th straight loss; also, Truex wins NASCAR at Homestead and my Dale Jr. column, my Canes football column, latest Hot Button Top 10 & more

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

1) It is MONDAY, NOVEMBER 20. Holiday season! Give the Dolfan on your list the gift of my book on the club's first half-century. Click Fins At 50. 2) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Hurricanes beat Virginia for 10-0 with CSM poll, FIU handles FIU, other state Collball & more. 3) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook, Instagram, Periscope and Snapchat.

New Dolphins column: Click Gase Must Find A Way for the latest from me on the Dolphins' woes. 

On Hurricanes' 44-28 Saturday win: Click on Heart and Fight Keep Canes' Perfect Dream Alive for my column from stadium on Saturday's comeback win by No. 3 and now 10-0 UM.

DOLFAN SATISFACTION METER: G10: 3.6%: Results are certified in the latest installment of the Dolfan Satisfaction Meter postgame polls, and they show 3.6 percent overall approval -- the combination of "very" and "somewhat" satisfied votes -- in the wake of Sunday afternoon's 30-20 Dolphins home loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers putting Miami's season record at 4-6. The DSM is a continuous weekly gauge of how Dolfans are feeling about the team and its direction. Right after each game I invite you to share your overall degree of satisfaction. Criteria for voting is your own, but I suggest fans consider the most recent game's performance and caliber of opponent, season as a whole, direction the club is heading and your overall degree of optimism -- all in the context of reasonable expectations. Results are certified official the morning after one full day of voting. In this case that was around 6:45 a.m. today/Tuesday.

 
2017 game-by-game DSM results
G1: 81.9% (following 19-17 victory at L.A. Chargers)
G2: 4.8% (following 20-6 loss at N.Y. Jets)
G3: 3.8% (following 20-0 loss vs. New Orleans in London)
G4: 9.9% (following 16-10 victory vs. Tennessee)
G5: 79.7% (following 20-17 victory at Atlanta)
G6: 86.1% (following 31-28 victory vs. N.Y. Jets)
G7: 6.1% (following 40-0 loss at Baltimore)
G8: 13.1% (following 27-24 loss vs. Oakland)
G9: 3.5% (following 45-21 loss at Carolina)
G10: 3.6% (following 30-20 loss vs. Tampa Bay)
Next poll: Nov. 26 (following game at New England)

G10: TAMPA BAY AT DOLPHINS: MIAMI LOSES 4TH STRAIGHT, FALLS TO 4-6: Miami trailed 20-7 early, fought back to tie it 20-20 but lost on a 35-yard Bucs FG in the closing seconds followed by a fumble-TD on the final play. Fins had rallied behind Matt Moore after Jay Cutler (with three first-half INTs) left with a concussion. Original post: This is the season opener Hurricane Irma blew away and postponed 'til now -- what should have been a bye week for both teams. Instead the delayed meeting finds Fins and Bucs each slogging through disappointing seasons. Tampa just Tbmiaextricated from a five-game losing streak and now is without injured QB Jameis Winston. Miami was sailing along at 4-2 despite bad offense, but then came that 0-3 skid by a combined 112-45 score in consecutive prime-time pratfalls. Dolphins are only one game off playoff pace in the weak AFC but it feels worse, leading coach Adam Gase this week to say of his team: "It's not a total disaster everywhere." How's that for a positive spin! Such a rallying cry! It's hard to decide which team is worse right now, so this is a rare pick-'em game -- at least it was when I picked it -- though Miami opened a 2 1/2-point favorite and on Sunday morning I found both TB and MIA favored by 1 point in various lines. Not sure I get why Fins are not a three-point pick because team seem even. Jay Cutler vs. Ryan Fitzpatrick may be a push, but I anticipate a big bounceback performance at home by Miami's defense, which was embarrassed in that 40-0 loss at Baltimore and maybe even moreso in the 45-21 shellacking in Carolina Monday night. Against a Bucs squad that is 0-4 on the road, look for the Dolphins to shake their lapse into awfulness and get back to being average. Both teams share desperation,with LB Rey Maualuga's recent arrest and fast firing only adding to Gase's trying season. As the city swoons over the unbeaten Hurricanes, the Dolphins sincerely need a W to get folks caring again. My pick: Dolphins, 21-20. (Click Week 11 Gems for all our latest picks).

Nascar HomesteadNASCAR CROWNS TRUEX CHAMP, JUNIOR BIDS FAREWELL AT HOMESTEAD: My Dale Jr. column from the track. Click Truex Jr. Takes Trophy, But Dale Jr. Wins The Day. The four drivers running for the NASCAR season championship today -- Kyle Busch, Kevin Harvick, Brad Keselowski and Martin Truex -- do not, for me, include any transcendent star of particular interest. But the fact this is Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s final race before retiring adds a compelling layer to the day. I'll be down there columnizing. Gentleman, start your laptop!

HOT BUTTON TOP 10 (NOVEMBER 19): 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, but from a Miami perspective, as the sports week just past pivots to the week ahead. This week's HB10:

Hotbutton1. HURRICANES: No. 3 Canes rally to beat Virginia in home finale: ACC title game, first 10-win season since 2003 and angling for College Football Playoff all say Miami is back. Saturday's third straight huge home crowd for the 44-28 win says Canes fans are back, too.

2. NASCAR: Truex wins title, Junior wins hearts at Homestead: Martin Truex beat fellow finalists Kyle Busch, Kevin Harvick and Brad Keselowski for the season championship at Homestead-Miami Speedway, but Dale Earnhardt Jr. won hearts and the day in his final race before retiring.

3. MARLINS: Trade-rumored Stanton wins NL MVP: Giancarlo Stanton joins Dan Marino (1984) and LeBron James (2012, '13) as only Miami athletes to win their sport's top individual award. Just one more reason we'll miss him when (if) he's gone.

4. DOLPHINS: Fins fall to Tampa, lose fourth straight: Miami has now been outscored 142-65 in a four-game skid including Sunday's 30-20 loss to visiting Tampa Bay. At 4-6 and with the schedule now really toughening, wave bye-bye to realistic playoff hopes.

5. HEAT: Wanted: Signs Miami is above average: Heat is 7-9 with Sunday's loss to Indiana, after last season's .500 finish. When will Miami leave Mediocreville and be relevant again? Wednesday visit by really-good Boston will tell us how good Heat is ... or isn't.

6. SOCCER: Two huge omissions as World Cup field set: The 32-nation field for the 2018 men's soccer World Cup in Russia is now set, with the draw scheduled for Dec. 1. Italy and the United States were the two most notable teams to fail to qualify. You'd think Putin could have snuck the U.S. in as a favor to Trump, no? 

7. SHULA BOWL: FAU handles FIU in rivalry renewal: The 16th annual Shula Bowl found host FAU clobbering FIU 52-24, Lane Kiffin besting Butch Davis in a duel of two veteran coaches who have turned around those programs in their first seasons at the schools.

8. UM BASKETBALL: Canes men rise in polls: Jim Larranaga's guys have started 3-0 and risen two spots to No. 11 in the polls entering Wednesday's game vs. LaSalle. Season's first big test: Nov. 29 at No. 14 Minnesota.

9. PANTHERS: Hey don't forget about us, say Cats: Florida fell to 7-13 with Sunday's loss in Anaheim. Inconsistent Cats need to make a run (a skate?) to earn attention of more than diehards in South Florida.

10. TENNIS: Serena gets married: Tennis star Serena Williams married Alexis Ohanian in a fairy-tale, Beauty and the Beast-themed wedding in New Orleans. They'd recently had a baby girl together. The baby is the early betting favorite to win Wimbledon in 2038.

Missing the HB10 cut: The Jerry Jones-Roger Goodell feud is getting nasty. On the bright side, it's a diversion from counting players who took a knee during the anthem ..... Bucs QB Jameis Winston is accused of grabbing the crotch of a female Uber driver. And, yes, that is worse than stealing crab claws ..... Dear Media Colleagues: A special request? Quit interviewing, quoting and broadcasting LaVar Ball. Thank you. Carry on.
 

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

Twitter @gregcote

November 15, 2017

Dolfan Satisfaction Meter: 3.5%. Season-low approval rating for Fins; plus Miami clobbered in Carolina 45-21 in defensive collapse; also, Canes column, latest Hot Button Top 10 (updated) & more

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

1) It is TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 14. Know any people who are serious Dolfans? Surprise and delight them with our book on club's first half-century. Click Fins At 50. 2) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Hurricanes crush Notre Dame 41-8 with CSM postgame poll, other state Collball & more. 3) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook, Instagram, Periscope and Snapchat.

New Hurricanes column: As 9-0 Canes await arrival tonight into the College Football Playoff ranking's top four, we write about the real reason for this season. Click The Mark 'n Manny Show. Also, click Championship In View For Soaring Canes for column from Saturday night huge win over Notre Dame. And, no surprise: Approval rating in the latest Canesfan Satisfaction Meter postgame poll hit 98.6 percent, another season high. See previous blogpost for details.

DsmDOLFAN SATISFACTION METER: G9: 3.5%: Results are certified in the latest installment of the Dolfan Satisfaction Meter postgame polls, and they show 3.5 percent overall approval -- the combination of "very" and "somewhat" satisfied votes -- in the wake of Monday night’s 45-21 Dolphins loss at the Carolina Panthers putting Miami's season record at 4-5. That is a new season low. The DSM is a continuous weekly gauge of how Dolfans are feeling about the team and its direction. Right after each game I invite you to share your overall degree of satisfaction. Criteria for voting is your own, but I suggest fans consider the most recent game's performance and caliber of opponent, season as a whole, direction the club is heading and your overall degree of optimism -- all in the context of reasonable expectations. Results are certified official the morning after one full day of voting. In this case that was around 8:45 a.m. today/Wednesday.

 

2017 game-by-game DSM results

G1: 81.9% (following 19-17 victory at L.A. Chargers)

G2: 4.8% (following 20-6 loss at N.Y. Jets)

G3: 3.8% (following 20-0 loss vs. New Orleans in London)

G4: 9.9% (following 16-10 victory vs. Tennessee)

G5: 79.7% (following 20-17 victory at Atlanta)

G6: 86.1% (following 31-28 victory vs. N.Y. Jets)

G7: 6.1% (following 40-0 loss at Baltimore)

G8: 13.1% (following 27-24 loss vs. Oakland)

G9: 3.5% (following 45-21 loss at Carolina)

Next poll: Nov. 19 (following game vs. Tampa Bay)

G9: CAROLINA 45, DOLPHINS 21: OK YOU SAW WHAT THE CANES JUST DID, FINS. WHAT YOU GOT? NUTHIN'!:  Our five takeaways from Monday night’s 45-21 Dolphins loss at Carolina: 1) With Miami 4-5 after a third straight loss, please do not mention the phrase “playoff contention” again until you hear otherwise. You cannot rely on either offense or defense As ESPN’s Jon Gruden put it Monday night, Miami “is perhaps the most inconsistent team I‘ve seen in a while.” 2) We knew the offense was among the NFL’s worst. But we thought the defense was OK, maybe even pretty good. Until now. Carolina totaled 548 yards of offense, including 294 rushing (and 8.2 per carry). Embarrassing. 3) Not Yet Ready For Prime-Time Players. Dolphins just became the first team ever to play three consecutive prime-time games and lose them all. 4) Miami remains the only team in the league to not score a rushing touchdown this season. Larry Csonka and Ricky Williams are spinning in their graves, and they aren’t dead yet. 5) Game-turning play: Fins were headed into halftime down only 10-7, then Jay Cutler through a bonehead interception from his own end that set up Carolina for a 17-7 lead. It was over from there ..... In- game: MIA 21-45 (4Q): Landry 9-yard pass from Cutler ..... CAR 45-14 (3Q): Funchess 32-yard pass from Newton ..... CAR 38-14 (3Q): McCaffrey 2-yard pass from Newton ..... MIA 14-31 (3Q): Drake 66-yard run ..... CAR 31-7 (3Q): Artis-Payne 12-yard run ..... CAR 24-7 (3Q): Funchess 28-yard pass from Newton ..... Halftime thoughts: Miami down in total yards 220-118 but a fairly even half except for the late, dumb Jay Cutler interception that gifted Carolina an easy TD ..... CAR 17-7 (2Q): Dickson 7-yard pass from Newton ..... MIA 7-10 (2Q): Thomas 2-yard pass from Cutler ..... CAR 10-0 (2Q): McCaffrey 4-yard run ..... CAR 3-0 (1Q): Gano 40-yard FG ..... Live blog tonight will mean as-they-happen score updates, halftime and postgame thoughts, then the DSM postgame poll ..... Original post: The Dolphins have lost two in a row, and there are no pity-points for improved effort or barely losing to Oakland 27-24 last week as what had been a comatose Miami offense finally showed a pulse. Fins still must prove they 

Miacar1can play a complete, complementary game with all cylinders pumping, and if they don't do it Monday night in Charlotte that would make it 0-for-3 in consecutive prime-time showcases. I give Miami a big chance here -- certainly against the spread, getting 10 points. Dolphins may be a shaky .500 at 4-4, but the Panthers' 6-3 mark Miacar2wobbles a bit, too. Cam Newton's passer rating actually is a fair bit worse than Jay Cutler's (78.4 to 87.4), thanks to Cam's 11 interceptions, tied for most in the league. The Cats are minus-8 overall on turnovers, fourth-worst in the NFL. Miami also has the benefit of safety T.J. McDonald's debut after serving an eight-game league suspension for substance abuse. Carolina's defense, though, is really stout -- much better than what Cutler picked apart last week vs. Oakland. And it doesn't help that Fins right tackle Ja'Wuan James is now on injured reserve. Also the Monday night stage, though diminished, still tends to magnify a home-field advantage. The good news? I'd bet on a close game, Miami-plus-points, and an outright upset would not shock. The bad news? I need to see a solid, four-quarter performance by the offense and defense in synch before the Dolphins earn my trust to conjure another major road upset like what they pulled off in Atlanta. My pick: Carolina, 24-17.

 

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, but from a Miami perspective, as the sports week just past pivots to the week ahead. This week's HB10:

Hotbutton1. HURRICANES: UM crushes Notre Dame, stakes championship intentions: Canes crushed Fighting Irish 41-8 Saturday, clinched a spot in ACC title game and made case to leap from No. 7 into College Football Playoff top four. For me, other than the five national-championship wins, the last in 2001 -- maybe the greatest night in UM football history. #TurnoverChain

2. DOLPHINS: Miami crushed at Carolina on Monday Night Football: Fins had lost two games in a row on Thursday night (at Baltimore) and Sunday night (vs. Oakland) and now gave Monday a shot in last chance to avoid being first team ever to lose three consecutive prime-time games. Didn't work.

3. NASCAR: Six days 'til Championship Sunday at Homestead: Sunday's penultimate race in Phoenix finalized the Championship Four for this Sunday's run at Homestead-Miami Speedway. It'll be Kevin Harvick, Kyle Busch, Martin Truex and Brad Keselowski racing for season crown. As many eyes, though, will be on Dale Earnhardt Jr. in his last race before retiring.

4. COLLEGE FOOTBALL: CFP committee ready to shuffle top four: With No. 1 Georgia, 3-Notre Dame and 6-TCU all losing Saturday, Miami should leap 7-to-4 -- at least -- in Tuesday's new College Football Playoff ranking. New No. 1 figures to be Alabama ... unless Miami Hurricanes fans commandeer the votes. Would not shock to see Canes second behind only 'Bama.

5. UM BASKETBALL: Canes men, women both open season 2-0: No. 13 UM men routed Gardner-Webb 77-45 in Friday's season opener behind Bruce Brown's triple-double while Canes women beat FIU 77-69 led by Mykea Gray's 27 points, then both won again Sunday. Men's team plays under cloud of that FBI investigation into college recruiting, but winning is a diversion, at least.

6. MARLINS: Stanton trade speculation gains traction: Fish confirmed Don Mattingly would return as manager but remain noncommittal on slugger Giancarlo Stanton as assumption grows that they'll trade him, with Red Sox, Cardinals, Giants and Phillies out front among reported suitors. Dear Marlins: Small request. Get (a lot) more for Stanton than you got for Miguel Cabrera.

7. HEAT: Must we get used to being average?: Miami is 6-7 after Sunday's loss in Detroit, after finishing right at .500 last season. Long season, folks. And it's looking like another thrilling fight for that seventh or eighth seed. Pardon the attitude. The Big 3 years spoiled me.  

8. PANTHERS: Florida sinks to bottom of East: Cats are 5-11 after loss in New Jersey and in last place in the NHL's Eastern Conference. Either the club will show patience seldom associated with the Panthers, or rookie coach Bob Boughner may be on the edge of trouble.  

9. FIU: Panthers fall at home: FIU was an upset loser to Old Dominion 37-30 Saturday but still is an impressive 6-3 under first-year coach Butch Davis, though overshadowed by UM's unbeatenness. I mean, what were the odds FIU would today have as many wins as the Seminoles and Gators combined?

10. BASEBALL: Japanese phenom headed to America: Touted Japanese pitcher/outfielder Shohei Otani will be in Major League Baseball starting in 2018. hailed as perhaps the greatest two-way player since Babe Ruth. Hey, no pressure or anything, Shohei!

Missing the HB10 cut: Free man O.J. Simpson has been banned from the Cosmopolitan hotel-casino in Vegas over alleged drunken, belligerent behavior. Or, did that go without saying? ..... Lonzo Ball's younger brother was among UCLA players arrested for shoplifting in China. Does the Bruins defense get statistical credit for those steals? ..... Bulletin: Ezekiel Elliott's suspension is back on, pending another 47 appeals ..... On behalf of Richard Sherman and his Achilles, can we finally abolish Thursday Night Football? Please? ..... R.I.P., Roy Halladay. And a slap in the face to those Boston radio idiots who made light of the private plane crash that took his life ..... What the hell did you start, Harvey Weinstein? Now Louis C.K., too? Keep it in your pants, fellas. Y'all are giving men a bad name, by which I mean even worse than usual.

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

Twitter @gregcote