January 18, 2021

New Greg Cote Show podcast out now!; plus latest Hot Button Top 10 (updated)! See who or what reigns; also, MLK Day, NFL Divisional Round playoff picks & more

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

Mlk1) It's MONDAY, JANUARY 18. It is Martin Luther King Jr. Day in America, a time to celebrate the life and works of the slain civil rights leader and to keep on the work of moving his dream forward. 2) The Greg Cote Show podcast is separately on Twitter and Instagram. Join us on both! 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): NFL Wild Card Weekend playoff picks, Hot Button Top10, Dolphins' recommitment to Tua, Greg Cote Show podcast & more. 4) Join me on Twitter and Instagram.

NFL Divisional Round playoff picks!: Four games, one upset. Off a 5-1 playoff start last week, find all our latest picks at NFL Divisional Round Gems.

Say cheese! Packers' Rodgers wins elusive first Herald NFL QB season title: The details including the final season Top 35, here: Final Herald NFL 2020 QB Rankings.

Alabama, king Saban reign in Miami with CFP title: For our full column off the 52-24 rout of Ohio State at Hard Rock Stadium: Saban the New G.O.A.T. as Alabama Reigns in Miami.

CoteshowGREG COTE SHOW PODCAST: NEW EPISODE OUT NOW!: Our Miami Herald podcast debuted in March and our new No. 3 episode of 2021 (45th overall) is out now! A new pod drops every Monday morning on Apple, Spotify, Google, Stitcher, Megaphone -- wherever you pod, and of course at MiamiHerald.com. You can find all 45 we've done so far RIGHT HERE for free; please listen, subscribe, rate and review. In the new Ep3 of '21, we welcome in friend of the pod (FOP) Amin El Hassan, who explains why he left ESPN after eight years and is betting on Dan Le Batard. Amin also talks Heat, James Harden and NBA. Also, a new listener song, "Greg Cote Killed the Radio Show," the last Mount Gregmore topic you'd ever expect, and a new edition of the popular segment, "Greg Doesn't Know Movies." Hear all of that and more in our third new episode of the new year! Thanks as always for the support. Please listen, rate, review and subscribe.

HOT BUTTON TOP 10 (JANUARY 17-18): WHAT SOUTH FLORIDA SPORTS FANS ARE TALKING ABOUTOur blog-exclusive Sunday-into-Monday 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:

HButton1. NFL: It's Bills-Chiefs, Pack-Bucs in final four set today: The weekend's NFL Divisional Round results have sent Green Bay and Tampa Bay to the NFC final and Buffalo and Kansas City in the AFC. Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady, Josh Allen, Patrick Mahomes. Gee, you get the feeling quarterbacks matter a lot in this sport or what?

2. NBA: Blockbuster Harden trade shakes up basketball: James Harden traded from Houston to  the Brooklyn Nets in a blockbuster deal, joining Kevin Durant and (when he's agreeable to be an adult and play) Kyrie Irving. The Beard dropped a 30-point triple-double in his debut vs. Magic Saturday night. Yay, a new Super Team to hate!

3. PANTHERS: Yandle sparks Cats' win in delayed season opener: Puck drops on Florida's 27th NHL season Sunday night with a 5-2 win over Chicago in the Sunrise home rink, a season opener delayed when Thursday and Friday games vs. Dallas were postponed due to the Stars' COVID outbreak. Florida defenseman Keith Yandle scored his 100th career goal and kept his consecutive games streak alive at 867, fourth longest in NHL history, when earlier in week it seemed he might be a healthy scratch.

4. INTER MIAMI: Beckham hiring former teammate as new coach: David Beckham and Inter Miami have agreed to terms to hire as new coach Beckham's former Manchester United teammate, Phil Neville, to replace departed Diego Alonso for Miami's upcoming second MLS season. Neville most recently coached England's national women's team.

5. DOLPHINS: Speculation around QB enlivens offseason: Coach Brian Flores has re-confirmed his re-commitment to Tua Tagovailoa amid swirling rumors that disgruntled Deshaun Watson may want out of Houston and into Miami. Then there's that Herald story in which three unnamed Dolphins questioned how good Tua is. Those three players' names? Lame, Weak and Cowardly.

6. HEAT: Reeling Miami loses third straight: Heat, reigning NBA Finals runnerup, fell to 4-7 with Saturday's 20-point home loss to Detroit a third straight L. Miami hosts Pistons again Monday, needing to get healthy and prove last season's postseason run introduced a team on the rise ... and wasn't an aberration or fluke.

7. NFL: Former star college coach headed to Jaguars, NFL: Urban Meyer, former Florida and Ohio State championship coach, has entered the NFL fray with Jacksonville. Less splashy but arguably a better hire: the New York Stinkin' Jets landed prized 49ers defensive chief Robert Saleh.

8. UM BASKETBALL: Things go right when Canes men go Wong!: Victory of the year Saturday night for Miami's men's team: a 78-72 home upset of No. 16 Louisville, led by Isaiah Wong. Jim Larranaga's guys are now 6-6, with some tailwind. UM women are 6-5 after Sunday's loss at No. 24 Syracuse.

9. HURRICANES: Diaz finalizes '21 football coaching staff: The Miami Hurricanes hired Jess Simpson as defensive line coach and promoted DeMarcus Van Dyke to cornerbacks coach as Manny Diaz finalized his 2021 staff. Three other new additions led by new defensive coordinator Blake Baker previously had been announced. Also notable: Diaz said he'll call defensive plays from now on, after horrible D in the last two games ended 2020's 8-3 season sourly.

10. TENNIS: COVID already shadowing Australian Open: Three coronavirus cases were detected among charter flights carrying tennis players, coaches and officials to Melbourne ahead of the Australian Open, the year's first major set to begin February 8. A total of 47 players from the two affected flights are now in a tightly enforced 14-day quarantine.

Missing the HB10 cut: Josh Gordon has been suspended again. Or did that go without saying? ..... After 17 years with Coca-Cola, LeBron James is signing with rival Pepsi. Hey, a man's tastes can change! ..... As MLB free agency continues, like a lifeguard surveying a crowded pool, I am looking for a big splash from the Marlins. Bring back J.T. Realmuto? Just sayin' ..... Former Hurricane LB Dan Morgan made the 2021 College Football Hall of Fame -- which lets in way too many people, but, somehow, shamefully, not Howard Schnellenberger ..... Still can't wrap my head around it: Nick Saban crowned college football's all-time G.O.A.T. coach in Miami, of all cities ..... Dolphins coaches will be on one sideline for the January 30 Senior Bowl in Mobile, Alabama. What'd they do, lose a bet? ..... A Mickey Mantle baseball card sold at auction for $5.2 million. Sounds like a good deal, if the card was attached to a check for $5.1 million made out to cash ..... The Greg Cote Show podcast's new Episode 45 (No. 3 of 2021) is out Monday! ..... Update: Countdown now 1,989 days (give or take) until Miami hosts its first match in soccer's 2026 World Cup. 

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THE ARCHIVES:

Select other mots recent columns: Dolphins' Re-Commitment to Tua is Smart, And Well-Timed / Promising Season For Dolphins, Tua Ends In Crushing CollapseIt Was the Overshadowed Bowl, but A&M and UNC Deliver An Exciting OB / 'A' For Effort, But King Hurt As Hurricanes' Bowl-Woes Continue yet Again / The King Is Dead! Dolphins Win Signals End of Era For Belichick, Pats / and Heat Are Getting No Respect, But Didn't Earn Much In Opener.For Dolphins' Tua, Now Is When We Begin to See If Greatness Is In His Reach / Le Batard Leaving ESPN, But Assures Fans They'll Hear From Him Again Soon / Marlins Hit History-Making Home Run With Kim NG Hire As GM / In a Pandemic-Battered Season For FIU, Butch Davis' Love Of Coaching Survives / Stop the Silly Noise And Speculation. Give Dolphins' Tua Time And a Fair Chance / Fans of ESPN's Dan Le Batard Show With Stugotz Should Prepare For Another Change / Turner, With COVID, Joining Dodgers Celebration A Sadly Fitting End to Season  / and Heat, Marlins, Canes -- now Tua. Miserable 2020 Suddenly Great Time To Be Miami Fan.

Heat NBA Finals last column: Game 6--LeBron Reigns, But Credit Heat For Unexpected Run to Finals.

Marlins postseason run last column: NLDS Game 3--Marlins Season Was A Miracle But Way It Ended Is Lesson On Work Still Ahead.

Select other 2020 columns: Boycott Of NBA Playoffs Shows Nation That Injustice Is Bigger Than Sports Right Now / Having Fans at Dolphins, Canes Games A Bad Idea And Big Risk / As Panthers Move on From Tallon, Who's Next Miami Team Executive on Hot Seat? / 'Perfect Storm For Virus Transmission': Why Football Is Struggling to Lift Off / Marlins Delaying Home Opener For COVID Outbreak a Scary Lesson For All Sports / Don Shula, 1930-2020, R.I.P. / What Shula Meant to a Father & Son. They Boy Was Me / It Took George Floyd To Finally Wake Up White America / Goodell's NFL Response to Floyd Killing Is Hypocrisy At Its Most Ironic / and George Floyd Is Why Kaepernick & Sports Must Continue Fight For Social Justice

Revisit this blog often because it updates regularly. The Associated Press Sports Editors writing awards ranked the blog's author a Top 10 national sports columnist in the major-outlet category. Greg is also a regular on the Dan Le Batard Show With Stugotz on ESPN Radio. Finding Greg: TwitterInstagramFacebookColumnsPodcastPodcast on TwitterPodcast on InstagramLeBatard Show. Book: Fins At 50. Songs: Letting Go (audio) and The Ballad Of 1440 (video).

xxx

December 21, 2020

G14: Dolphins 24, New England 12: Big defense (again), and the king is dead. My column off game; plus jam-packed new Hot Button Top10 (updated), Greg Cote Show podcast news & more

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

1) It's MONDAY, DECEMBER 21. Note to readers: Not been writing as much lately because I'm burning a bunch of unused vacation time before end of year. But the blog still chugs on! 2) The Greg Cote Show podcast is now separately on Twitter and Instagram. Join us on both! 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): College football's Championship Weekend and Canes/OB outlooks, NFL Week 15 picks, Greg Cote Show podcast Episode 41 & more. 4) Join me on Twitter and Instagram.

G14: DOLPHINS 22, NEW ENGLAND 12: MORE BIG DEFENSE, AND THE KING IS DEAD: For my column off Sunday's Dolphins win: The King Is Dead. Dolphins' Win Sunday Ends Dynasty For Belichick, Patriots. ..... Original post: This is disrespect, folks. If "bulletin board material" is still a thing in 2020, the Dolphins have some here. Miami — better record, better offense, better defense, and home — is a negligible 1-point favorite Sunday at 1 p.m. (CBS) vs. New England. The line opened at 2 1/2 but was Nemiabet down as gambled money flowed to the Patriots. Why? Habit, for one. Miami is disrespected because this season hasn’t erased from the public mind all those years when New England reigned over the AFC East and the Fins were also-rans. (Do we trust that all that has now changed?). And there is this: post-Tom Brady, Bill Belichick still famously has his mastery over rookie quarterbacks he faces. He takes raw QBs to the woodshed. His Pats have beaten nine rookie passers in a row since last losing to one in 2013. The latest was Justin Herbert in a 45-0 thrashing just two weeks ago. It is not far-fetched to think the Pats will dial up trouble for Tua Tagovailoa. There is also a revenge factor in play. MIA beat NE in the 2019 season finale to deny the Patrots an all-important first-round playoff bye. Now the Pats, with but a scant hope of making the postseason, can play spoiler and hugely damage Miami’s hopes. Oh and this: New England played last Thursday, so Genius Bill had had added time to outmaneuver one of his disciples, Bran Flores. This is not nothing: Belichick teams have won 21 of past 25 games with added time to rest and prepare. The disrespect in the betting line has tangible roots, too, though. It’s rested Pats vs. banged-up Fins. Tua will likely be without TE Mike Gesicki and WRs DeVante Parker and Jakeem Grant -- all inactive today. With Miami’s big-play defense able to disrupt Cam Newton anything is possible. But Belichick, vs. a rookie QB, with extra time to prepare, remains too good to pass up. Mini-upset! My pick: Patriots (+1), 23-19. For all of our latest picks: NFL Week 15 Gems. Column as rookie QB navigates his most telling month: For Dolphins' Tua, Now Is When We Begin to See If Greatness Is In His Reach.

HOT BUTTON TOP 10 (DECEMBER 20-21): WHAT SOUTH FLORIDA SPORTS FANS ARE TALKING ABOUT: Our blog-exclusive Sunday-into-Monday 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:

HButton1. DOLPHINS: Belichick's rookie-killing streak screeches to a halt Sunday vs. Tua: Patriots at Dolphins Sunday distilled perhaps to Bill Belichick's scary-good track record (9-0 run) vs. rookie quarterbacks. Enter Tua Tagovailoa. A home loss by the 8-5 Dolphins would have been a huge hit to playoff hopes. Instead Miami eliminated the Patriots 24-12. And the king is dead.

2. HEAT: It's Opening Week for Miami's 33rd NBA season: After a 1-1 preseason the NBA Finals-runnerup Heat open the new 2020-21 season on Wednesday in Orlando and then  Christmas Day at home vs. New Orleans. Heat will start the season with no fans permitted at home games due to COVID. Miami isn't getting much respect/love from the betting public. Heat is tied for fourth favorite to repeat as East champs, after Brooklyn, Milwaukee and Boston.

3. COLLEGE FOOTBALL: Championship Weekend sets predictable CFP: Alabama and Clemson were assured spots in the College Football Playoff final four semifinals after Saturday's results, it would have be shocking if Ohio State wasn't invited, too, and a one-loss Notre Dame seemed likely to be in as well. Sure enough, that was it: Alabama vs. Notre Dame and Clemson vs. Ohio State playing to see who reaches the CFP title game in Miami. The odd-man-out left to complain about everything and call for an expanded playoff: Texas A&M.

4. RECRUITING: Canes ranked 10th in early signing day bounty: Softening the blow of the UNC loss and bowl fallout (see below), the Hurricanes bounced with with an early National Signing Day class ranked 10th by ESPN. The bounty included nine ESPN 300 athletes led by quarterback Jake Garcia, heir to D'Eriq King, and five-star defensive tackle Leonard Taylor.

5. HURRICANES: Cheez-It!? UM feels devastation of late loss: The result of Miami's season-ending 62-26 loss to UNC went far beyond UM plummeting 10 spots to 18th in the polls. The loss meant Canes blew a ticket to the hometown Orange Bowl and instead will settle for the Cheez-it Bowl in Orlando vs. Oklahoma State. Orange to Cheez-It. Same color, different stratosphere as Canes fail to finish a promising season.

6. ORANGE BOWL: OB lands Texas A&M to pair with UNC: The Orange Bowl seems likely to pair either Texas A&M or Florida with North Carolina in its January 2 game at Hard Rock Stadium. Can't-miss choice. No. 5 A&M is the team that most closely missed the College Football Playoff. Gators just gave No. 1 Alabama a 52-46 scare and would be the people's choice in South Florida. Choice: A&M. 

7. PANTHERS: Cats add scoring punch with Duclair: The Florida Panthers agreed on a one-year contract with winger Anthony Duclair, 25, a first-time all-star who scored a career-best 23 goals for Ottawa last season. The NHL will play a truncated 56-game 2020-21 season beginning January 13. The league has not said whether teams will play in hub cities or their own arenas.

8. UM BASKETBALL: Canes fall hard in biggest early-season test: The unranked 4-1 Miami Hurricanes women's team visited No. 4 North Carolina State on Sunday in its biggest test of the young season and got spanked 78-47. The UM men also are now 4-2 after Saturday's home win over Jacksonville.

9. SOCCER: Updated Champions League odds after round-of-16 draw: Germany's Bayern Munich and England's Manchester City and Liverpool emerge as top three betting favorites to win the UEFA Champions League after the recent round-of-16 draw at the conclusion of group-stage play. The first leg of the round-of-16 is February 16-24 and the second March 9-17. 

10. GOLF: Tiger, Charlie don't win, but win, father/son event: The PNC Championship, an annual father/son golf event, was won by Justin Thomas and his father Mike in Orlando. But all eyes were on Tiger Woods and 11-year-old son Charlie, the youngest to ever compete in the event. They finished seventh, but won hearts.

Missing the HB10 cut: Started your Christmas shopping yet? That's why God invented the gift card ..... Inter Miami coach Diego Alonso’s remains on the job (for now) after mistakenly believing he had been let-go in a year-end meeting. Now come reports is a subject of interest from his former Uruguayan club Penarol to return as manager ..... Stanford's Tara VanDerveer won her 1,099th game to pass Pat Summitt for most career wins in women's college basketball. UConn's Geno Auriemma is right behind them ..... Drew Brees returns from injury for Saints today to enhance their Game of the Week matchup with Chiefs ..... Canelo Alvarez, maybe boxing's biggest star, dominated previously unbeaten Callum Smith in a unanimous decision Saturday in San Antonio to consolidate the WBA and WBC super-middleweight titles ..... The Greg Cote Show podcast is off this week with no new episode Monday. Perfect chance to check our our 41-pod back catalog! ..... Update: Countdown now 2,017 days (give or take) until Miami hosts its first match in soccer's 2026 World Cup.

CoteshowGREG COTE SHOW PODCAST: WHAT'S AHEAD AFTER HOLIDAY WEEK OFF: Our Miami Herald podcast debuted in March and our latest Episode 41 is out now! A new pod drops every Monday morning on Apple, Spotify, Google, Stitcher, Megaphone -- wherever you pod, and of course at MiamiHerald.com. We're taking this holiday week off but you can find all 41 we've done so far RIGHT HERE for free. It's a great week to catch on up on what you've missed so please listen, subscribe, rate and review. In the latest Ep41 we welcome in a renowned animal psychologist who talks about how to raise happy dogs and cats in an informative, fun conversation. Also, Greg and Chris discuss the Dolphins, Canes and Heat. And the Mount Gregmore Name Game reaches its end with the X's, Y's and Z's. (But will it be the end of Mount Gregmore? Listen to find out!) Hear all of that and more in the new podcast -- and stay tuned for a special new year-end episode dropping December 28! Appreciate you all listening each and every week and check out our latest Ep41 now.

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THE ARCHIVES:

Select other recent columns: For Dolphins' Tua, Now Is When We Begin to See If Greatness Is In His Reach / Le Batard Leaving ESPN, But Assures Fans They'll Hear From Him Again Soon / Marlins Hit History-Making Home Run With Kim NG Hire As GM / In a Pandemic-Battered Season For FIU, Butch Davis' Love Of Coaching Survives / Stop the Silly Noise And Speculation. Give Dolphins' Tua Time And a Fair Chance / Fans of ESPN's Dan Le Batard Show With Stugotz Should Prepare For Another Change / Turner, With COVID, Joining Dodgers Celebration A Sadly Fitting End to Season  / and Heat, Marlins, Canes -- now Tua. Miserable 2020 Suddenly Great Time To Be Miami Fan.

Heat NBA Finals last column: Game 6--LeBron Reigns, But Credit Heat For Unexpected Run to Finals.

Marlins postseason run last column: NLDS Game 3--Marlins Season Was A Miracle But Way It Ended Is Lesson On Work Still Ahead.

Select other 2020 columns: Boycott Of NBA Playoffs Shows Nation That Injustice Is Bigger Than Sports Right Now / Having Fans at Dolphins, Canes Games A Bad Idea And Big Risk / As Panthers Move on From Tallon, Who's Next Miami Team Executive on Hot Seat? / 'Perfect Storm For Virus Transmission': Why Football Is Struggling to Lift Off / Marlins Delaying Home Opener For COVID Outbreak a Scary Lesson For All Sports / Don Shula, 1930-2020, R.I.P. / What Shula Meant to a Father & Son. They Boy Was Me / It Took George Floyd To Finally Wake Up White America / Goodell's NFL Response to Floyd Killing Is Hypocrisy At Its Most Ironic / and George Floyd Is Why Kaepernick & Sports Must Continue Fight For Social Justice

Revisit this blog often because it updates regularly. The Associated Press Sports Editors writing awards ranked the blog's author a Top 10 national sports columnist in the major-outlet category. Greg is also a regular on the Dan Le Batard Show With Stugotz on ESPN Radio. Finding Greg: TwitterInstagramFacebookColumnsPodcastPodcast on TwitterPodcast on InstagramLeBatard Show. Book: Fins At 50. Songs: Letting Go (audio) and The Ballad Of 1440 (video).

December 14, 2020

G13: Kansas City 33, @Dolphins 27: So much went right for Miami, but...; plus latest Hot Button Top 10 (updated): Canes embarrassed, Harden rumors, Gators lose to flying shoe; also, new Greg Cote Show podcast drops Monday & more

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

1) It's MONDAY, DECEMBER 14. Note to readers: Not been writing as much lately because I'm burning a bunch of unused vacation time before end of year. But the blog still chugs on! 2) The Greg Cote Show podcast is now separately on Twitter and Instagram. Join us on both! 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Hurricanes fall hard to North Carolina, Greg Cote Show podcast, recent columns & more. 4) Join me on Twitter and Instagram.

CoteshowGREG COTE SHOW PODCAST: NEW EPISODE OUT NOW!: Our Miami Herald podcast debuted in March and the new Episode 41 is out now! A new pod drops every Monday morning on Apple, Spotify, Google, Stitcher, Megaphone -- wherever you pod, and of course at MiamiHerald.com. Find all 41 we've done so far RIGHT HERE for free. Please listen, subscribe, rate and review. In new Ep41 we welcome in a renowned animal psychologist who talks about how to raise happy dogs and cats in an informative, fun conversation. Also, Greg and Chris discuss the Dolphins' Sunday loss to Kansas City, the Canes' awful defensive collapse and the Heat/James Harden rumor. And the Mount Gregmore Name Game reaches its end with the X's, Y's and Z's. But will it be the end of Mount Gregmore? Listen to find out! Hear all of that and more in the new podcast. Appreciate you all listening each and every week and check out the new Ep41 now!

KcmiaTuaMahG13: KANSAS CITY 33, @DOLPHINS 27: SO MUCH WENT RIGHT, BUT...: Tua threw for a career-high 316 yards. The defense intercepted Mahomes three times and forced four Chiefs turnovers, Fins fought hard and rallied from 20 points down. A lot of good Sunday. A lot of proof that Miami  can compete with any team. But Kansas City showed that champions find a way. ..... Original post: Coming off a big week for Miami. The Dolphins won again, easily handling Cincy to make it a 7-1 run, the playoffs within reach. The 1972 Dolphins won again, too, with Pittsburgh’s loss making it a 48th consecutive season no other team has equaled Miami’s Perfection. (If there’s a heaven, they were raising a toast to Don Shula up there. Down here, too). Now, in the all-good-things-must-end category, come Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs. I do give Miami a legit upset shot as 7 1/2-point home 'dogs in the 1 p.m. kickoff (CBS) at Hard Rock Stadium. It’s why this was in my mix for Game of the Week. The Dolphins defense is for-real legit. Don’t know if anybody can stop Tyreek Hill, but Xavien Howard is waving around eight interceptions and raising his hand. Also note that KC’s last four wins have been by one score, 15 points total. Chiefs have lately been finding a way more than dominating. Mahomes has not faced a particularly rugged schedule and the Dolphins might just be his toughest test yet. Having said all that, Mahomes is Mahomes. The best. Hill and TE Travis Kelce can seem unstoppable. Now RB Clyde Edwards-Helaire returns from an illness. Miami’s paths to an upset are A) Tua Tagovailoa getting into an arms-race shootout with Mahomes, or B) Miami’s defense being at its absolute best. Choose B. Might not be enough to win, but should be enough to stay on the right side of the betting line.

My pick: Chiefs (-7 1/2), 24-20. For all of our latest picks: NFL Week 14 Gems. Column as rookie QB begins his most telling month: For Dolphins' Tua, Now Is When We Begin to See If Greatness Is In His Reach.

HOT BUTTON TOP 10 (DECEMBER 13-14): WHAT SOUTH FLORIDA SPORTS FANS ARE TALKING ABOUT: Our blog-exclusive Sunday-into-Monday feature, back after one week off, 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:

HButton1. DOLPHINS: Miami does a lot right but loses to Chiefs anyway: What if I told you Tua would pass for a career-high 316 yards and Miami's D would intercept Patrick Mahomes three times and have four takeaways? Sounds like a win over the reigning Super Bowl champs, right? It was a 33-27 loss instead as Miami squandered a 10-0 lead, fell behind by 20 and rallied. Now 8-5, Fins may need to win two of last three games to reach playoffs.

2. HURRICANES: UM gets run all over in crushing home loss to UNC: Unfathomable. But it happened. Beyond embarrassing. But it happened. No. 10 Miami got crushed 62-26 by No. 17 North Carolina at Hard Rock Saturday -- giving up NCAA-record 554 yards rushing. A win in the regular season finale would have assured an invite to the hometown Orange Bowl. Now, at 8-2, Canes will cascade in the polls and face shopping for a lesser bowl. A devastating, epic defeat for Manny Diaz and his program.

3. HEAT: Exhibitions, Harden rumors, then a new season: Miami plays exhibition games Monday/tonight vs. New Orleans and Friday at Toronto, then opens the new season Dec. 23 at Orlando and Christmas Day at home vs. the Pelicans. Heat will start the season with no fans permitted at home games due to COVID. Meantime speculation swirls that Miami could be interested if Houston decides to trade James Harden. Could the man be taking his beard to South Beach? Odds are against it, but don't discount Pat Riley's propensity to make a big splash.

4. GATORS: Flying shoe costs No. 6 Florida in loss: The high-ranked Gators were beaten by unranked LSU 37-34 in the Swamp Saturday on a 57-yard field goal in final seconds. The Tigers were stopped and overtime seemed likely before Gators defender Marco Wilson threw a defender's shoe downfield, drawing a penalty and keeping LSU alive. Six plays later, the deciding FG. Marco Wilson, welcome to Gator infamy.

5. BERNIE ROSEN: Miami TV-sports legend passes away: The most significant pioneer in South Florida TV sports coverage, Bernie Rosen, died at 93. He was to Miami TV what Edwin Pope was in print. Rosen founded the first local television sports department in the state at WTVJ in 1949 and continued a presence in local press boxes long after his retirement. R.I.P., sir.

6. INTER MIAMI: Changes underway as MLS club preps for second season: The club announced sporting director (i.e. GM) Paul McDonough had stepped down, and that options had been declined on eight players including veteran goalkeeper Luis Robles. And future of coach Diego Alonso is unclear. David Beckham's Inter Miami finished inaugural season 7-13-3 with quick exit from expanded MLS playoffs.

7. SOCCER: Champions League round-of-16 draw is Monday: The UEFA Champions League round-of-16 draw is Monday/today in Switzerland, with eight group winners and eight runnersup advancing. Manchester City and Bayern Munich got through cleanest with 5-0-1 group runs for 16 points. The first leg of the round-of-16 is February 16-24 and the second March 9-17. 

8. UM BASKETBALL: Canes men, women absorb first losses: Both Miami teams are 3-1 after the men lost Saturday to Florida Gulf Coast and the women fell Thursday to No. 20 Syracuse. Canes men are back at it Wednesday vs. Pitt; the women host North Carolina on Monday/tonight.

9. PANTHERS: Details emerge on new NHL season: NHL owners and players have targeted a January 13 start date for the 2020-21 season, and a reduced schedule of 52 or 56 games. The Florida Panthers have not yet released their scheduled, but have named retired Roberto Luongo to head a new "goaltending excellence department." Alrighty then.

10. MLS: Columbus crushes Seattle for title: Columbus Crew SC throttled Seattle Sounders FC 3-0 Saturday in the MLS Cup championship match. Seattle had won it all in 2019 and 2016. The crown is Columbus' second, after it previously reigned in 2008.

Missing the HB10 cut: Hot Button Top 10 is happy to be back after a week off! ..... My 2021 Baseball Hall of Fame ballot has been mailed. I Tweeted it out. I never realized Andruw Jones had so many fans ..... Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski said he wondered if college basketball should be played in a pandemic. Then again, he happened to say it after two early season home loss to non-conference teams ..... The University of Nevada-Las Vegas quarterback apologized for eating sushi off the body of a nude model. It had to be Vegas, right? ..... The Greg Cote Show podcast's new Episode 41 drops Monday! ..... Update: Countdown now 2,024 days (give or take) until Miami hosts its first match in soccer's 2026 World Cup.

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THE ARCHIVES:

Select other recent columns: Le Batard Leaving ESPN, But Assures Fans They'll Hear From Him Again Soon / Marlins Hit History-Making Home Run With Kim NG Hire As GM / Top-10 But Underdogs, Disrespected Hurricanes Rally Past VT in Blacksburg / In a Pandemic-Battered Season For FIU, Butch Davis' Love Of Coaching Survives / Stop the Silly Noise And Speculation. Give Dolphins' Tua Time And a Fair Chance / Fans of ESPN's Dan Le Batard Show With Stugotz Should Prepare For Another Change / Turner, With COVID, Joining Dodgers Celebration A Sadly Fitting End to Season  / and Heat, Marlins, Canes -- now Tua. Miserable 2020 Suddenly Great Time To Be Miami Fan.

Heat NBA Finals last column: Game 6--LeBron Reigns, But Credit Heat For Unexpected Run to Finals.

Marlins postseason run last column: NLDS Game 3--Marlins Season Was A Miracle But Way It Ended Is Lesson On Work Still Ahead.

Select other 2020 columns: Boycott Of NBA Playoffs Shows Nation That Injustice Is Bigger Than Sports Right Now / Having Fans at Dolphins, Canes Games A Bad Idea And Big Risk / As Panthers Move on From Tallon, Who's Next Miami Team Executive on Hot Seat? / 'Perfect Storm For Virus Transmission': Why Football Is Struggling to Lift Off / Marlins Delaying Home Opener For COVID Outbreak a Scary Lesson For All Sports / Don Shula, 1930-2020, R.I.P. / What Shula Meant to a Father & Son. They Boy Was Me / It Took George Floyd To Finally Wake Up White America / Goodell's NFL Response to Floyd Killing Is Hypocrisy At Its Most Ironic / and George Floyd Is Why Kaepernick & Sports Must Continue Fight For Social Justice

Revisit this blog often because it updates regularly. The Associated Press Sports Editors writing awards ranked the blog's author a Top 10 national sports columnist in the major-outlet category. Greg is also a regular on the Dan Le Batard Show With Stugotz on ESPN Radio. Finding Greg: TwitterInstagramFacebookColumnsPodcastPodcast on TwitterPodcast on InstagramLeBatard Show. Book: Fins At 50. Songs: Letting Go (audio) and The Ballad Of 1440 (video).

November 23, 2020

G10: Dolphins fall at Denver 20-13. Tua benched but still starter; plus latest Hot Button Top 10 (updated), new Greg Cote Show podcast out now & more

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

1) It's MONDAY, NOVEMBER 23. John Fitzgerald Kennedy, 35th president of the United States, was assassinated in Dallas 57 years ago yesterday. Never forget. 2) Note to readers: Not been writing as much lately because I'm burning a bunch of unused vacation time before end of year. But the blog still chugs on! 3) The Greg Cote Show podcast is now separately on Twitter and Instagram. Join us on both! 4) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): NFL Week 11 picks, Hurricanes season rocked and postponed by COVID, Greg Cote Show podcast Episode 37 & more. 5) Join me on Twitter and Instagram.

Some of our most recent stuff: Marlins Hit History-Making Home Run With Kim NG Hire As GM / Herald Week 10 NFL QB Rankings / Top-10 But Underdogs, Disrespected Hurricanes Rally Past VT in Blacksburg / and In a Pandemic-Battered Season For FIU, Butch Davis' Love Of Coaching Survives.

CoteshowGREG COTE SHOW PODCAST: NEW EPISODE OUT NOW!: Our Miami Herald podcast debuted in March and the new Episode 38 is out now! A new pod drops every Monday morning on Apple, Spotify, Google, Stitcher, Megaphone, iHeart -- wherever you pod, and of course at MiamiHerald.com. Find all 38 we've done so far RIGHT HERE for free. Please listen, subscribe, rate and review. In Ep38 we welcome in special guest Christie Cote to share family secrets and embarrassing stories about her husband Chris and father-in-law Greg. She also talks about being a fan of the winless Jets -- the Dolphins' next opponent. Greg and Chris also chat up Sunday's Fins loss in Denver. And of course there's a new Mount Gregmore (U's) and more. Appreciate you listening each week and check out the new ep!

MiadenverG10: DOLPHINS FALL AT DENVER 20-13. TUA BENCHED BUT STILL STARTER: Miami was due a loss after five straight wins, and Tua was due a less than stellar start. Both happened Sunday as the Dolphins missed a great chance to tie for the AFC East lead and solidify their playoff hopes. Original post: Tua Tagovailoa is 3-0 as a starter with five touchdown passes and zero interceptions — only the second rookie quarterback in the Super Bowl era (Carson Wentz, 2016) to start 3-0 with zero picks. If Tagovailoa bags a fourth consecutive victory Sunday to begin his career he will be only the second rook since 1976 to do that, and the first since Ben Roethlisberger in 2004. Heady stuff, the way the Golden Samoan has introduced himself to Miami. He has helped make the Fins one of 15 teams with six-plus wins, the most ever entering Week 11. He also is a win in Denver Sunday (4:05 p.m., CBS) from hoisting Miami into a tie for the AFC East lead with idle Buffalo. This might give us pause: Miami somehow has lost 10 consecutive road games vs. teams with losing records. Except: Denver has lost eight of the past nine at home vs. teams with winning records. Mile High is no longer a scary visit. The Broncos are in shambles. QB Drew Lock (ribs) is iffy to play and has 10 interceptions in past five games when he does play. The once-proud Denver defense has allowed an average of 36 points during the past four games. The Broncos’ decline and the way Miami is playing are a stark contrast. Can’t recall when last I said what I’m about to: Miami losing on the road Sunday would be a huge surprise. My pick: Dolphins (-3), 27-13. For all of our latest King Sport picks (we're coming off an 11-3 week against the spread), visit NFL Week 11 Gems.

HOT BUTTON TOP 10 (NOVEMBER 22-23): WHAT SOUTH FLORIDA SPORTS FANS ARE TALKING ABOUT: Our blog-exclusive Sunday-into-Monday 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:

1HButton1. DOLPHINS: Tua Train pulls into Denver, gets derailed in loss: Favored at Denver Sunday and with Jets and Bengals next, we thought Miami could very plausibly be 9-3 after a dozen games. Now, maybe 8-4? The playoffs still loom realistically, by Miami likely must win the next two to have a cushion entering a much tougher four-game stretch to end the regular season. A bit of pressure on Tua Tagovailoa now, too, after his benching late in Sunday's 20-13 loss.

2. HEAT: Miami nabs Memphis forward in NBA Draft, re-signs Dragic: The Heat selected Memphis 6-9 forward Precious Achiuwa 20th overall, seeing him as a big who'll back up Bam Adebayo. Precious has sisters named Grace and Peace, and brothers named Promise, God'sgift, God'swill and God’slove. If Precious is as good at basketball as his family is at naming babies, Miami just won the draft. Free agency opened two days after the draft and Miami quickly re-signed Goran Dragic and role player Meyers Leonard, but is lsing Jae Crowder to Phoenix.

3. HURRICANES: COVID outbreak disrupts, postpones UM season: No. 12 Canes -- how do you win and then drop three spots in The AP poll? -- were supposed to host Georgia Tech Saturday night. But the global coronavirus pandemic had something to say about that. A COVID outbreak got in the way, with much of the UM team including coach Manny Diaz in isolation after positive tests. Presuming no further outbreak, Hurricanes won't play again until December 5 at Wake Forest.

4. INTER MIAMI: Quick playoff exit ends strangest of rookie years: Inter Miami has finished its inaugural expansion season in Major League Soccer with a 7-14-3 record after Friday night's 3-0 loss at Nashville in the first round of the expanded playoffs. Miami had won its final regular season match to clinch the 10th and last spot in the East playoffs. Inter Miami starters Gonzalo Higuain and Leandro Gonzalez Pirez did not play Friday after ill-timed COVID test-positives.

5. COLLEGE FOOTBALL: First CFP ranking due as virus ravages season: The first College Football Playoff raking is out Tuesday and good luck to the committee making sense of this season. Nineteen more games were canceled (12) and postponed (7) this week, including ppd's for Miami-Georgia Tech (see above) and FSU-Clemson. Some games were played. Among results: Gators beat Vandy, FAU won and FIU lost (again).

6. NBA: Crazy week as free agency rolls out two days after draft: A whirlwind: Chris Paul to Suns. Jrue Holiday to Hornets. James Harden turns down $50 million to stay as he attemts to broker deal to join Nets. Anthony Davis not recommitting to Lakers just yet. Giannis mulling options. Toronto re-signs Fred VanFleet. Oh, and Raptors will open season in Tampa after Canada says no home games in Toronto just yet. 

7. UM BASKETBALL: It's opening week for Canes and college hoops: Under the shadow of a pandemic, college basketball gets underway Wednesday, with Gonzaga (AP) and Baylor (coaches) No. 1 in the men's polls and South Carolina dominant in the women's rankings. It's a season of low expectations for UM, with neither team ranked or receiving votes. Canes women open Wednesday at home vs. Jacksonville; Miami men launch next Sunday vs. North Florida.

8. COLLEGE FOOTBALL: Champion LSU rocked by scandal: Ed Orgeron's reigning national champion LSU Tigers program is under fire after a USA Today investigative report found systemic mishandling of sexual misconduct and dating violence complaints against the school's football team. Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards said he was "deeply troubled" and has called for an investigation, and the NCAA won't be far behind.

9. SOCCER: Champions League play resumes this week: UEFA Champions League group play continues Tuesday toward a winnowing to the round of 16. Barcelona, one of four team that are a perfect 3-0 thus far, plays Tuesday. The other three perfectos, Bayern Munich, Manchester City and Liverpool, get back at it Wednesday. Two more weeks of play will follow to complete the group stage.

10. THANKSGIVING: Time to give thanks, if at all possible: Thursday we eat (a lot), watch football (a lot), and enjoy the company of loved ones (but not too close). Many of us, when we say grace before the Thanksgiving banquet, count the blessings of the year. In cursed 2020, that could make for a record-short grace. "Thank God this !@#$%in' year is almost over! Let's eat."

Missing the HB10 cut: Waiting for that first big Marlins offseason deal to trumpet GM Kim Ng's arrival ..... R.I.P., Jake Scott, Dolphins career leader in interceptions. Free safety, free spirit, gone at 75 ..... As MLB free agency rolls out, sport suspended Mets 2B Robinson Cano an entire season for PEDs. So long, Cooperstown ..... Baseball Hall of Fame ballots have been mailed, and I (a voter) received mine. Rudy Guiliani is standing by to contest the results of the election ..... The wife of Lions QB Matthew Stafford on Instagram called Michigan a "dictatorship" for its COVID lockdown rules, was shouted down by rational people aware there is a pandemic, and had to apologize ..... LaVar Ball vs. Michael Jordan 1-on-1? Yes, please. But only if it is guaranteed MJ will crush and humiliate the world's most annoying sports dad ..... Florida Panthers have entered into an affiliation agreement with the ECHL's Greenville Swamp Rabbits. Minor-league nicknames rule! ..... The Greg Cote Show podcast's new Episode 38 drops Monday! ..... Update: Countdown now 2,045 days (give or take) until Miami hosts its first match in soccer's 2026 World Cup.

Select other most recent columns: Stop the Silly Noise And Speculation. Give Dolphins' Tua Time And a Fair Chance / Fans of ESPN's Dan Le Batard Show With Stugotz Should Prepare For Another Change / Dolphins Defense Makes It Easy For Tua In First NFL Start Drama, Controversy, Torqued-Up Pressure: Welcome to Tua Week In Miami / Turner, With COVID, Joining Dodgers Celebration A Sadly Fitting End to Season  / Dolphins Turning to Tua Now Is Risky -- But Right Move/ and Heat, Marlins, Canes -- now Tua. Miserable 2020 Suddenly Great Time To Be Miami Fan.

-- * -- * -- * -- * -- * -- * -- * -- * -- * --

THE ARCHIVES:

Heat NBA Finals columns: Game 6--LeBron Reigns, But Credit Heat For Unexpected Run to Finals. Game 5--They're Alive! Butler, Heat Beat Lakers, Get to Game 6 In NBA FInals. Game 4--Lakers in 3-1 Command in NBA Finals, But Don't Write Off Heat Yet. Game 3--Jimmy Butler's 40 Gives Heat New Life in NBA Finals. Game 2--NBA Finals Slipping Away As Heat Lose Again. Game 1-- Riley Wants Heat to Beat LeBron So Bad, But Opening Loss a Reality Check.

Marlins postseason run columns: NLDS Game 3--Marlins Season Was A Miracle But Way It Ended Is Lesson On Work Still Ahead. Game 2--Marlins Fall Again, Join Heat On Brink Of Elimination. Game 1--Braves Homers, Bullpen Collapse Bury Marlins in NLDS Game 1. Columns from two wins over Cubs in wild-card round: Miracle Marlins Advance in NL Playoffs and Seventeen Years Out of Playoffs, Marlins Return in Style.

Select other 2020 columns: 'If I Die, I Die.' QB Cousins' Shamefully Cavalier Attitude On Pandemic / Boycott Of NBA Playoffs Shows Nation That Injustice Is Bigger Than Sports Right Now / Having Fans at Dolphins, Canes Games A Bad Idea And Big Risk / For Marlins, A Home Opener -- And First Place -- In Mid-August / As Panthers Move on From Tallon, Who's Next Miami Team Executive on Hot Seat? / 'Perfect Storm For Virus Transmission': Why Football Is Struggling to Lift Off / Marlins Delaying Home Opener For COVID Outbreak a Scary Lesson For All Sports / Don Shula, 1930-2020, R.I.P. / What Shula Meant to a Father & Son. They Boy Was Me / It Took George Floyd To Finally Wake Up White America / Goodell's NFL Response to Floyd Killing Is Hypocrisy At Its Most Ironic / and George Floyd Is Why Kaepernick & Sports Must Continue Fight For Social Justice

Revisit this blog often because it updates regularly. The Associated Press Sports Editors writing awards ranked the blog's author a Top 10 national sports columnist in the major-outlet category. Greg is also a regular on the Dan Le Batard Show With Stugotz on ESPN Radio. Finding Greg: TwitterInstagramFacebookColumnsPodcastPodcast on TwitterPodcast on InstagramLeBatard Show. Book: Fins At 50. Songs: Letting Go (audio) and The Ballad Of 1440 (video).

October 26, 2020

Latest Hot Button Top 10 (updated): Topping the marquee, a Fins QB change tinged in drama, wins by Canes and Inter Miami win and World Series; plus Greg Cote Show podcast new episode 34 out now!, NFL Week 7 picks & more

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

1) It's MONDAY, OCTOBER 26. Hope y'all had a nice weekend! 2) The Greg Cote Show podcast is now separately on Twitter and Instagram. Join us on both! 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Hurricanes host Virginia with preview and pick, FIU falls badly, NFL Week 7 picks, Greg Cote Show podcast Episode 33 & more. 4) Join me on Twitter and Instagram.

Most recent stuff from me: NFL Week 7 picks, Dolphins' QB change and fun time in Miami sports: NFL Week 7 Gems // Dolphins Turning to Tua Now Is Risky -- But Right Move // Heat, Marlins, Canes -- now Tua. Miserable 2020 Suddenly Great Time To Be Miami Fan.

CoteshowGREG COTE SHOW PODCAST: NEW EPISODE 34 OUT NOW!: Our Miami Herald podcast debuted in March and the new Episode 34 is out now! A new pod drops every Monday morning on Apple, Spotify, Google, Stitcher, Megaphone, iHeart -- wherever you pod, and of course at MiamiHerald.com. Find all 34 we've done so far RIGHT HERE for free. Please listen, subscribe, rate and review. In new Ep34, myself and Chris engage in a sometimes contentious debate over the Dolphins quarterback-change drama, Chris reveals his first career parenting faux pas, and we offer a new edition of 'Greg Doesn't Know Movies.' And of course a new Mount Gregmore, too -- the Q's. Hear all that and more on the new Greg Cote Show podcast!

HOT BUTTON TOP 10 (OCTOBER 25-26): WHAT SOUTH FLORIDA SPORTS FANS ARE TALKING ABOUT: Our blog-exclusive Sunday-into-Monday 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:

HButton1. DOLPHINS: Miami names Tagovailoa starter, benches Fitzpatrick: Can't say the Fins didn't pack major news and unwanted controversy into their bye week. Miami named rookie Tua Tagovailoa as starting quarterback beginning next Sunday, with benched Ryan Fitzpatrick admitting surprise and disappointing and calling himself "heartbroken." Fins have won two in a row, with Fitzpatrick playing well. His reaction turns up the pressure on Brian Flores to have made the right call -- and on Tua to justify his coach's faith, and timing.

2. HURRICANES: UM doesn't dominate but gets past Virginia: No. 11 Miami never trailed Saturday here in a 19-14 victory over Virginia that was more efficient than overly impressive. D'Eriq King's 322 yards passing -- 170 of them to Mike Harley -- fueled the home win. With No. 8 Penn State losing, the now 5-1 Canes are likely to  nudge up into the top 10 in the next polls. 

3. MLB: Dodgers on brink of World Series title: Dodgers lead Rays 3-2 in games after last night's 4-2 Los Angeles win -- putting L.A. one more victory from its first World Series crown since 1988. Does Tampa Bay have another comeback in it? The Series pauses today before resuming with Tuesday night. And the city that just celebrated the Lakers i poised again.

4. INTER MIAMI: A dramatic late home win for Miami over Orlando: MLS expansion team Inter Miami is now 6-11-3 -- a credible 6-6-3 since an 0-5 start -- after Saturday's 2-1 win over rival Orlando City before a limited number of fans in Fort Lauderdale. Leandro Gonzalez-Pirez headed in  an 89th minute goal off a corner kick to decide it. Next match: Wednesday at FC Dallas.

5. COLLEGE FOOTBALL: Cowardly Big Ten, Ohio State join season: No. 5 Ohio State and the Big Ten began their season Saturday, after righteously saying they would not play in 2020 due to the COVID threat -- and then changing their minds, putting money over safety. (Buckeyes beat Nebraska, 52-17, Saturday). Pac-12 also went from not playing to changing its mind and will begin play November 7.

6. NBA: League mulls starting next season sooner, playing fewer games: COVID shows no signs it will stop messing with sports anytime soon. As the NBA plans for a delayed, virtual draft next month, the league's board of governors met and discussed possible changes to the 2020-21 season, including starting as quickly as possible -- as soon as Christmas Day -- playing fewer than 82 games and not waiting for fans to be permitted to all arenas.

7. HEAT: Riley hints at offseason plans: Godfather Pat Riley in his annual postseason state-of-the Heat news conference suggested he's reday to stand pat next season with a team that unexpectedly reached the NBA Finals as a 5 seed. Said he'd keep the team as close to intact as possible and maintain spending money to go whale-hunting in 2021. Our takeaway: Re-sign as many of own free agents as possible -- priority: Goran Dragic -- and gun hard for Giannis Antetokounmpo next summer.

8. SOCCER: Barcelona-Juventus spices Champions League play: UEFA Champions League group-stage play is underway, and this Wednesday delivers the much anticipated Barcelona-Juventus match in Group G. It would pit longtime rival soccer gods Lionel Messi of Barca vs. Juve's Cristiano Ronaldo -- if Ronaldo is cleared to play after testing positive for COVID on October 13. Butsome reports in Europe are that he'll be ruled out.

9. NASCAR: Logano first to reach Championship 4: Joey Logano's win at Kansas made him the first to qualify for the November 8 championship race in Phoenix. Two more runs (Monday at Texas after Sunday's rain postponement and November 1 at Martinsville) will complete the Championship 4 field, with Kevin Harvick, Denny Hamlin and Brad Keselowski currently owning the inside track.

10. FIU: Butch Davis' miserable 2020 gets worse: Panthers football fell to 0-3 Friday night, absorbing an embarrassing 19-10 home loss to FCS-level Jacksonville State. This after three FIU games already had been postponed by COVID issues. Otherwise, everything going great for Butch Davis!

Missing the HB10 cut: Antonio Brown to Bucs. A 32-year-old problem child on a team with Mike Evans and Chris Godwin getting enough targets to keep him happy? Yeah good luck with that, Tom Brady ..... Steelers-Titans today is only sixth time in Super Bowl era two unbeaten teams have met this late in a season ..... 0Congrats Stan Van Gundy on the New Orleans Pelicans job. He inherits Zion Williamson. Also, Lonzo Ball's dad! ..... Nurmagomedov vs. Gaethje in UFC 254. Betting favorite: Me misspelling one of their names ..... South Park cutouts to be seen at Broncos-Chiefs game Sunday ..... Ha! ESPN's Adam Schefter added Antonio Brown to his fantasy team moments before tweeting out the news Brown's suspension had been lifted and the Seahawks were interested ..... Happy birthday to Pele'. The Brazilian soccer legend turned 80 on Friday ..... The Greg Cote Show podcast's new Episode 34 drops Monday! ..... Update: Countdown now 2,073 days (give or take) until Miami hosts its first match in soccer's 2026 World Cup.

-- * -- * -- * -- * -- * -- * -- * -- * -- * --

THE ARCHIVES:

Heat NBA Finals columns: Game 6--LeBron Reigns, But Credit Heat For Unexpected Run to Finals. Game 5--They're Alive! Butler, Heat Beat Lakers, Get to Game 6 In NBA FInals. Game 4--Lakers in 3-1 Command in NBA Finals, But Don't Write Off Heat Yet. Game 3--Jimmy Butler's 40 Gives Heat New Life in NBA Finals. Game 2--NBA Finals Slipping Away As Heat Lose Again. Game 1-- Riley Wants Heat to Beat LeBron So Bad, But Opening Loss a Reality Check.

Marlins postseason run columns: NLDS Game 3--Marlins Season Was A Miracle But Way It Ended Is Lesson On Work Still Ahead. Game 2--Marlins Fall Again, Join Heat On Brink Of Elimination. Game 1--Braves Homers, Bullpen Collapse Bury Marlins in NLDS Game 1. Columns from two wins over Cubs in wild-card round: Miracle Marlins Advance in NL Playoffs and Seventeen Years Out of Playoffs, Marlins Return in Style.

Other most recent columns: COVID-Decimated and 30,000-to-1 Odds, Miami Marlins Are a Sports Miracle For the Ages / Canes Score Biggest Rout Of FSU in 44 Years. Soon, We Find Out How Good UM Really Is / Heat Wins East, Reaches NBA Finals Vs. LeBron / and We All Want Dolphins to Unveil Tua, But Appreciate the Ryan Fitzpatrick We Just Saw.

Football special-section columns: TUA TAGOVAILOA IS DOLPHINS' SAVIOR SENT TO BRING NEW GLORY ... IF PROPHECY IS TRUE  /  WHO'S SUPER BOWL-BOUND? WHERE DO FINS FALL? OUR 2020 NFL-IN-A-PANDEMIC TEAM RANKINGS  /  and FOR MIAMI & AMERICA, HERE COMES A COLLEGE FOOTBALL SEASON WE'LL NEVER FORGET

Select other recent columns: 'If I Die, I Die.' QB Cousins' Shamefully Cavalier Attitude On Pandemic / Boycott Of NBA Playoffs Shows Nation That Injustice Is Bigger Than Sports Right Now / Having Fans at Dolphins, Canes Games A Bad Idea And Big Risk / For Marlins, A Home Opener -- And First Place -- In Mid-August / As Panthers Move on From Tallon, Who's Next Miami Team Executive on Hot Seat? / 'Perfect Storm For Virus Transmission': Why Football Is Struggling to Lift Off / Marlins Delaying Home Opener For COVID Outbreak a Scary Lesson For All Sports / Don Shula, 1930-2020, R.I.P. / What Shula Meant to a Father & Son. They Boy Was Me / It Took George Floyd To Finally Wake Up White America / Goodell's NFL Response to Floyd Killing Is Hypocrisy At Its Most Ironic / and George Floyd Is Why Kaepernick & Sports Must Continue Fight For Social Justice

Revisit this blog often because it is updated regularly. The Associated Press Sports Editors writing awards ranked the blog's author a Top 10 national sports columnist in the major-outlet category. Greg is also a regular on the Dan Le Batard Show With Stugotz on ESPN Radio. Finding Greg: TwitterInstagramFacebookColumnsPodcastPodcast on TwitterPodcast on InstagramLeBatard Show. Book: Fins At 50. Songs: Letting Go (audio) and The Ballad Of 1440 (video).

October 12, 2020

Latest Hot Button Top 10 (updated): Heat fall in Game 6 as LeBron's Lakers win NBA title (with column), Canes routed by Clemson (w/ column), Fins clobber Niners, Marlins run ends, Inter Miami wins again; plus new Greg Cote Show podcast out now & more

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

1) It's MONDAY, OCTOBER 12. Peruse NFL Week 4 QB Rankings for the latest Top 20. 2) The Greg Cote Show podcast is now separately on Twitter and Instagram. Follow us on both! 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Heat win to force Finals Game 6, Canes visit Clemson, Marlins eliminated, NFL Week 5 picks, Greg Cote Show podcast Episode 31 & more. 4) Join us on Twitter and Instagram.

Canes clobbered by Clemson ... yet again: My column off Saturday night's game: Canes Not 'Back' Yet, As Clemson Emphatically Proves Again.

HeatPLAYOFFS! HEAT FALL IN GAME 6 AS LEBRON, LAKERS WIN NBA FINALS: Miami's unexpected deep playoff run ended two wins short of a championship Sunday night in a 106-93 Game 6 loss to the L.A. Lakers in the NBA Finals. Our column off the season-ending loss: LeBron Reigns, But Credit Heat For Unexpected Run to Finals. Column off Game 5: They're Alive! Butler, Heat Beat Lakers, Get to Game 6 In NBA FInals. Column off Game 4: Lakers in 3-1 Command in NBA Finals, But Don't Write Off Heat Yet. Off Game 3: Jimmy Butler's 40 Gives Heat New Life in NBA Finals. Off Game 2: NBA Finals Slipping Away As Heat Lose Again. Off Game 1: Riley Wants Heat to Beat LeBron So Bad, But Opening Loss a Reality Check.

FishPLAYOFFS! MIRACLE MARLINS ELIMINATED BY BRAVES IN NLDS SWEEP: Marlins were ousted by Braves in a three-game sweep of the best-of-5 NL Division Series with Thursday's 7-0 loss in the Houston bubble. Our column off the season-ending Game 3: Marlins Season Was A Miracle But Way It Ended Is Lesson On Work Still Ahead. Off Game 2: Marlins Fall Again, Join Heat On Brink Of Elimination. Off Game 1: Braves Homers, Bullpen Collapse Bury Marlins in NLDS Game 1. Columns from two wins over Cubs in wild-card round: Miracle Marlins Advance in NL Playoffs and Seventeen Years Out of Playoffs, Marlins Return in Style.

MiasfG5: DOLPHINS 43, AT SAN FRANCISCO 17: FINS COMPLETELY DOMINATE NINERS. (DID THIS REALLY JUST HAPPEN?): Original post: The Niners should beat Miami no matter what, but the iffy status of QB Jimmy Garoppolo (ankle) makes picking against the point spread a crapshoot, because it’s a big drop-off to Nick Mullens or C.J. Beathard. The uncertainly whittled the bet line all the way from 13 to 8 1/2. San Fran also has mounting defensive injuries, but still will show better pass D that what Fins saw from Seattle last week. After surprise loss to Philly in Week 4, Niners are too good and too well coached to be surprised again. Still, a fat-looking point spread given SF’s injuries has us liking Miami plus-nine. One more thing, an aside: Glad to hear Dolphins coach Brian Flores finally say directly and aloud this week that rookie QB Tua Tagovailoa is not ready to be the starter ahead of Ryan Fitzpatrick. So to you fans with your "We want Tua!" chants, shhh please. And to my fellow media members on the "Tua now!" soapbox, eschew the easy clickbait and find something a little more original (and realistic) to espouse. It’s Tua when it’s Tua time, and the won-lost record or how Fitzpatrick played last game should not matter an iota. It’s Tua time when there is a synchronicity of his complete fitness, his mentality and confidence, his utter knowledge of the offense and the faith his O-line can protect him. It’s Tua time then, not a moment before. Quick update: Looking more and more like Garoppolo will return from a two-game absence. That makes my pick (Fins with points) a bit less secure. My pick: 49ers (-9) over Dolphins, 27-20. Visit NFL Week 5 Gems for this and all of our other latest previews and picks.

HOT BUTTON TOP 10 (OCTOBER 11-12): WHAT SOUTH FLORIDA SPORTS FANS ARE TALKING ABOUT: Our blog-exclusive Sunday-into-Monday 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:

HButton1. HEAT: Miami falls in Game 6 as LeBron, Lakers win NBA Finals: Heat fell 106-93 Sunday night as LeBron won a fourth championship with a third different team. Miami's unexpected deep playoff run ended two wins shy of a title, but respect for a surprising, exhilarating postseason that saw Jimmy Butler elevate from mere star to something closer to elite.

2. HURRICANES: Clemson shows (again) that The U isn't 'back' yet: In 2015 it was 58-0. In 2017 it was 38-3. Last night it was 42-17. Progress, I guess? Miami keeps losing big to ACC nemesis Clemson, and last night's latest loss to the top-ranked Tigers was the latest comeuppance for No. 7 UM.

3. DOLPHINS: Fins crush 49ers on road. Wow. Did that really just happen?: It wasn't that Miami won. But 43-17? Fins were nine-point 'dogs Sunday afternoon in the club's first trip since 2012 to The City by the Bay. Niners had QB Jimmy Garoppolo back after a two-game absence but Miami made him look so  bad he was benched. Dolphins at 2-3 now and bubbling with promise. (Miami will host Jets next Sunday as NFL rejiggers its schedule due to COVID-related issues).

4. MARLINS: Miracle season ends with Miami swept from NLDS: It ended with the thud of a three-game sweep by the Braves in the NL Division Series. Still, this truncated MLB season marked Miami's first winning record in nine years and first postseason in 17 years. The Derek Jeter rebuild is justified three years in, and Marlins fans are left with this odd, unfamiliar feeling. It is called optimism.

5. INTER MIAMI: Higuain pays off with a winning first MLS goal: In only his third match with Inter Miami former Juventus striker Gonzalo Higuain lifted the expansion club past New York Red Bulls 2-1 on a gorgeous free kick bent over the wall. Then Saturday Miami made it two straight wins with a 1-0 decision over Houston Dynamo. Miami is now 5-10-2, a credible turnaround after an 0-5 start to the season. Next up: Atlanta United visits Wednesday.

6. COLLEGE FOOTBALL: No. 4 Gators bounced on road: No. 4 Florida will fall in polls after Saturday's 41-38 loss at No. 21 Texas A&M. Gators were only top 10 team (besides Miami) to los this week. UF coach Dan Mullen credited A&M's crowd and said he wants 90,000 fans at The Swamp. In a pandemic. Idiot. Fans don't win or lose games, Dan.

7. PANTHERS: Cats take Finnish center first in NHL Draft: With free agency now underway, Florida and new GM Bill Zito made full-ice center Anton Lundell from Finland the 12th overall of eight Panthers picks in the NHL Draft, the haul earning a B-grade in ESPN's analysis. New York Rangers made left wing Alexis Lafreniere the overall No. 1 pick as expected. 

8. TENNIS: Nadal takes heavyweight men's final as French Open ends: Rafael Nadal beat Novak Djokovic on Sunday for his 13th French Open win and record-tying 20th men's major title. The final could not have been higher wattage on star power. No so Saturday's women's final, in which unseeded Iga Swiatek, 19, of Poland defeated little-known fourth seeded Russian-American Sofia Kenin.

9. NFL: Second week in row for COVID disruptions to schedule: In Week 5 one game was delayed until Monday night and another until Tuesday night -- then the game delayed o Monday (Broncos-Patriots) was postponed to a later week. That was one week after one game was postponed entirely and another moved to Monday. Test positives around the league are having an impact as King Sport confronts the risk of traveling and having some fans at games instead of the bubble format that worked well for the NBA and NHL.

10. NASCAR: Playoffs pare from 12 drivers to eight: Sunday's run at Charlotte left eight men still contending for the NASCAR Cup season title, with Denny Hamlin, Kurt Busch and Kevin Harvick the drivers to catch as the playoffs get serious. The four drivers eliminated Sunday included reigning champion Kyle Busch.

Missing the HB10 cut: Bad home loss for FIU to a Middle Tennessee team that had been 0-4 ..... What were the odds of Tom Brady forgetting it was fourth down? Only time Greg Cote gets mixed up on small numbers is when he shoots a six on a golf hole and "mistakenly" writes five on his scorecard ..... Seattle Storm are celebrating their fourth WNBA title and Sue Bird, 40 next week, is the remarkable ageless athlete who gets way too little appreciation ..... UEFA Champions League group-stage play begins October 20, running into early December. Among the 32 clubs Bayern Munich and Manchester City are co-favorites at most books just head of Liverpool. ..... xxxxx ..... The Greg Cote Show podcast's new Episode 32 drops Monday! ..... Update: Countdown now 2,087 days (give or take) until Miami hosts its first match in soccer's 2026 World Cup. Ticket line forming yet?

CoteshowGREG COTE SHOW PODCAST: NEW EPISODE 32 OUT NOW!: Our Miami Herald podcast, The Greg Cote Show With Greg Cote, debuted in March and the new Episode 32 is out now! A new pod drops every Monday morning on Apple, Spotify, Google, Stitcher, Megaphone, iHeart -- wherever you pod, and of course at MiamiHerald.com. Find all 32 we've done so far RIGHT HERE for free. Please listen, subscribe, rate and review. In new Ep32, 'Growing Up Cote,' we welcome in my older brother, a.k.a. Uncle Dick, and share memories of me as a (strange) child. Greg and Chris also discuss Dolphins' big win over Niners, Canes' crushing loss, and Heat. A new Mount Gregmore, too -- the O's. Hear all that and more on the new Greg Cote Show podcast!

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THE ARCHIVES:

Other most recent columns: COVID-Decimated and 30,000-to-1 Odds, Miami Marlins Are a Sports Miracle For the Ages / Canes Score Biggest Rout Of FSU in 44 Years. Soon, We Find Out How Good UM Really Is / Heat Wins East, Reaches NBA Finals Vs. LeBron / and We All Want Dolphins to Unveil Tua, But Appreciate the Ryan Fitzpatrick We Just Saw.

Our football special-section column troika: TUA TAGOVAILOA IS DOLPHINS' SAVIOR SENT TO BRING NEW GLORY ... IF PROPHECY IS TRUE  /  WHO'S SUPER BOWL-BOUND? WHERE DO FINS FALL? OUR 2020 NFL-IN-A-PANDEMIC TEAM RANKINGS  /  and FOR MIAMI & AMERICA, HERE COMES A COLLEGE FOOTBALL SEASON WE'LL NEVER FORGET

Select other recent columns: 'If I Die, I Die.' QB Cousins' Shamefully Cavalier Attitude On Pandemic / Boycott Of NBA Playoffs Shows Nation That Injustice Is Bigger Than Sports Right Now / Having Fans at Dolphins, Canes Games A Bad Idea And Big Risk / For Marlins, A Home Opener -- And First Place -- In Mid-August / As Panthers Move on From Tallon, Who's Next Miami Team Executive on Hot Seat? / 'Perfect Storm For Virus Transmission': Why Football Is Struggling to Lift Off / Marlins Delaying Home Opener For COVID Outbreak a Scary Lesson For All Sports / Don Shula, 1930-2020, R.I.P. / What Shula Meant to a Father & Son. They Boy Was Me / It Took George Floyd To Finally Wake Up White America / Goodell's NFL Response to Floyd Killing Is Hypocrisy At Its Most Ironic / and George Floyd Is Why Kaepernick & Sports Must Continue Fight For Social Justice

Revisit this blog often because it updates regularly. The Associated Press Sports Editors writing awards ranked the blog's author a Top 10 national sports columnist in the major-outlet category. Greg is also a regular on the Dan Le Batard Show With Stugotz on ESPN Radio. Finding Greg Cote: TwitterInstagramFacebookColumnsPodcastPodcast on TwitterPodcast on InstagramLeBatard Show. Book: Fins At 50. Songs: Letting Go (audio) and The Ballad Of 1440 (video).

September 28, 2020

Latest Hot Button Top 10 (updated): History! 4-way tie for 1st: Marlins in playoffs, Heat in Finals vs. LeBron, UM crushes FSU, Fins crush Jax; plus our Six Pack 'O Takeaways from Canes-Noles, Greg Cote Show podcast new Episode 30 out now & more

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

1) It's MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 28. If you missed who won the week, who leads the early season Top 20 and where Fins' Ryan Fitzpatrick lands, check out our NFL Week 2 QB Rankings2) The Greg Cote Show podcast is now separately on Twitter and Instagram. Follow us on both! 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Dolphins crush Jacksonville, Greg Cote Show podcast Episode 29 & more. 4) Join us on Twitter and Instagram.

Our latest NFL picks: NFL Week 3 Gems.

HEAT IN FINALS VS. LEBRON!: For my column off last night's Game 6 win that catapulted Miami into the NBA Finals, visit Heat Wins East, Reaches NBA Finals Vs. LeBron. Off Game 5: Heat Lose, Still Lead 3-2. The Prize? An NBA Finals Date With LeBron. Game 4: Conquering Herro! Rookie's 37 Has Heat 1 Win From NBA Finals. G3: The Fun Starts Now As Heat's Joy-Ride Postseason Finally Hit a Bump. G2: Miracle Or Magic, Miami Heat's Stunning Postseason Run Continues. G1: Unexpected Playoff Run Makes Miami Heat the Most Fun Ride In Sports Right Now].

Newest Dolphins columns: Off Thursday night's big win in Jacksonville: We All Want Dolphins to Unveil Tua, But Appreciate the Ryan Fitzpatrick We Just Saw. Off Game 2: Power Outage, Lightning Delay, No Pass Defense As Dolphins Drop Home Opener to Bills. Off Game 1: Dolphins Lose to Pats, But Win With No-Hurry Plan On Tua.

SixpackCANES 52, FSU 10: OUR SIX PACK 'O TAKEAWAYS: For our column from last night's UM win, visit Canes Score Biggest Rout Of FSU in 44 Years. Soon, We Find Out How Good UM Really Is. Six Pack 'O Takeaways: 1. King D'Eriq. Transfer D'Eriq King continues his excellent play and is nominating himself as UM's best QB since Ken Dorsey closed out the glory years. 2. Putting the No in Noles. After losing seven in a row to its state and ACC rival, Miami has now beaten FSU four straight times. 3. Kickin' It. After the field goal and extra point nightmare that contributed to 2019's 6-7 record, transfer kicker Jose Borregales has been a godsend. 4. Monster D. Six sacks, seven hurries 13 tackles for loss. Canes defense had its way. P.S., Noles QB James Blackman? Not very good. 5. Discipline. Miami needs more of it. Two defensive ejections last night, too many penalties. Against better foes, those things can beat you. 6. Next, please. As the gist of my game column stressed, UM's 3-0 start gets its ultimate test at No.1 Clemson on October 10. Are the Canes teasing us again? Soon we find out.

HOT BUTTON TOP 10 (SEPTEMBER 27-28): WHAT SOUTH FLORIDA SPORTS FANS ARE TALKING ABOUT: Our blog-exclusive Sunday-into-Monday 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:

HButton

1. MARLINS: Miracle Fish make playoffs for first time in 17 years!: They did it. One year after losing 105 games, in a pandemic season that began with much of the team COVID-positive, the Marlins somehow made the playoffs for the first time since 2003. It'll be a best-of-three vs. Cubs to follow the 60-game season. Amazin'!

1. HEAT: Miami wins East to get to LeBron and Lakers: Heat beat Boston last nibght for a 4-2 series and an NBA Finals berth vs. old friend LeBron James and the L.A. Lakers. 

1. HURRICANES: UM crushes rival FSU, heads for top 10: Miami's 52-10 rout of Florida State last night at Hard Rock was the biggest in the series since 1976. The 3-0 Canes now have leaped to No. 8 (from 12) after two teams above UM lost Saturday. But is The U really that good? We all find out October 10 at Clemson.

1. DOLPHINS: Miami crushes it in Jax. Who are these guys!?: A Dolphins team we hadn't seen the first two games showed up and crushed host Jacksonville 31-13 Thursday night. Ryan Fitzpatrick was 18-for-20 with two TDs passing and one running. The defense dominated. It was a night when Miami's improvement and potential showed itself, and rather gloriously at that!   

5. INTER MIAMI: Expansion team back in action, falls in Philly: Miami returned to the pitch on the road Sunday night vs. a strong Philadelphia Union squad and lost 3-0. Despite two straight lopsided losses, Inter Miami since an 0-5 start has won three and drawn two of its past nine matches. Miami now has with it recently signed Gonzalo Higuain, the former Juventus striker.

6. NHL: Stanley Cup Final Game 6 is Monday: Tampa Bay leads Dallas 3-2 after the Stars staved off elimination Saturday night. The Lightning will win it all, or be forced to a Game 7, on Monday night. 

7. COLLEGE FOOTBALL: Weak! Pac-12 follows Big Ten back into play: Two of the Power 5 conferences, the Big Ten and Pac-12, said they would not play in 2020 over COVID-19 concerns. Then the weak Big Ten caved and agreed to begin play in late October. Now the weak Pac-12 has caved and said it will play a seven-game schedule starting in November. Sad.

8. NASCAR: Michael Jordan buys into race team: With NASCAR in the midst of its playoffs, Michael Jordan has become a team owner for next season. The basketball legend has teamed up with NASCAR star Denny Hamlin -- currently second in the playoff standings with seven races left -- and with Bubba Wallace, the Black driver whose fight led to the sport banning Confederate flags from its tracks.

9. PANTHERS: Florida NHL club signals win-now mode with trade: New Panthers general manager Bill Zito swung a trade acquiring veteran forward Patric Hornqvist from Pittsburgh in exchange for defenseman Mike Matheson and forward Colton Sceviour. Hornqvist, 33, appeared in 52 games with the Penguins this season scoring 17 goals with 15 assists.

10. WNBA: Seattle, Connecticut can advance to Finals Sunday: The Seattle Storm beat the Minnesota Lynx on Sunday for a 3-0 series win and a spot in the WNBA Finals. The Connecticut Sun and Las Vegas Aces are tied 2-2 in their semifinal in the Bradenton bubble heading into a deciding Game 5 on Tuesday.

Missing the HB10 cut: The majors keep a-comin'! Next: Tennis' French Open starts Sunday. Rafael Nadal has won a record 12 French Opens and is the strong betting favorite to make it 13, with Novak Djokovic the second pick. Simona Halep is a less-sure favorite on women's side, with Serena Williams a distant fourth ..... Conor McGregor says he'll fight Manny Pacquiao. Oh lord! ..... The Greg Cote Show podcast's new Episode 30 is out now! ..... Update: Countdown now 2,101 days (give or take) until Miami hosts its first match in soccer's 2026 World Cup. Hopefully we'll have crowds in stadiums again by then?

CoteshowGREG COTE SHOW PODCAST: NEW EPISODE 30 OUT NOW!: Our Miami Herald podcast, "The Greg Cote Show With Greg Cote," debuted in March and new Episode 30 is out now! A new episode drops early every Monday morning on Apple, Spotify, Google, Stitcher, Megaphone, iHeart -- wherever you pod, and of course at MiamiHerald.com. Find all 30 we've done so far RIGHT HERE for free. Please listen, subscribe, rate and review. (Start on Episode 1 and catch up!) In new Ep30 we welcome back special guest Izzy Gutierrez of ESPN for Iz 2.0. Last week we talked sports and silly stuff. This week -- vey different. On the fifth anniversary of his coming out publicly as gay, Izzy talks about his life since, including the heartache and a very recent loss. It's emotional, and a must-hear. Of course there's a new Mount Gregmore, too -- the M's. Hear all of that and more on the new Greg Cote Show podcast now!

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THE ARCHIVES:

Our football special-section column troika: TUA TAGOVAILOA IS DOLPHINS' SAVIOR SENT TO BRING NEW GLORY ... IF PROPHECY IS TRUE  /  WHO'S SUPER BOWL-BOUND? WHERE DO FINS FALL? OUR 2020 NFL-IN-PANDEMIC TEAM RANKINGS  /  and FOR MIAMI & AMERICA, HERE COMES A COLLEGE FOOTBALL SEASON WE'LL NEVER FORGET

Select other most recent columns: 'If I Die, I Die.' QB Cousins' Shamefully Cavalier Attitude On Pandemic / Boycott Of NBA Playoffs Shows Nation That Injustice Is Bigger Than Sports Right Now / Having Fans at Dolphins, Canes Games A Bad Idea And Big Risk / For Marlins, A Home Opener -- And First Place -- In Mid-August / As Panthers Move on From Tallon, Who's Next Miami Team Executive on Hot Seat? / 'Perfect Storm For Virus Transmission': Why Football Is Struggling to Lift Off / Marlins Delaying Home Opener For COVID Outbreak a Scary Lesson For All Sports / Don Shula, 1930-2020, R.I.P. / What Shula Meant to a Father & Son. They Boy Was Me / It Took George Floyd To Finally Wake Up White America / Goodell's NFL Response to Floyd Killing Is Hypocrisy At Its Most Ironic / and George Floyd Is Why Kaepernick & Sports Must Continue Fight For Social Justice

Revisit this blog often because it updates regularly. The Associated Press Sports Editors writing awards ranked the blog's author a Top 10 national sports columnist in the major-outlet category. Greg is also a regular on the Dan Le Batard Show With Stugotz on ESPN Radio. Finding Greg Cote: TwitterInstagramFacebookColumnsPodcastPodcast on TwitterPodcast on InstagramLeBatard Show. Book: Fins At 50. Songs: Letting Go (audio) and The Ballad Of 1440 (video).

September 20, 2020

Greg Cote Show podcast new Episode 29 out now!; plus latest Hot Button Top 10 (updated); also, column off Sunday's Dolphins loss and Marlins, Heat, Canes & more

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

1) It's MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 21. Schitt's Creek! Congrats on the Emmy haul to one of my favorite shows of all time. 2) The Greg Cote Show podcast is now separately on Twitter and Instagram. Follow us on both! 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Heat-Celtics Game 3, Canes win at Louisville, NFL Week 2 picks, Greg Cote Show podcast Episode 28 & more. 4) Join us on Twitter and Instagram.

CoteshowGREG COTE SHOW PODCAST: NEW EPISODE 29 OUT NOW!: Our Miami Herald podcast, "The Greg Cote Show With Greg Cote," debuted in March and new Episode 29 is out now! A new episode drops early every Monday morning on Apple, Spotify, Google, Stitcher, Megaphone, iHeart -- wherever you pod, and of course at MiamiHerald.com. Find all 29 we've done so far RIGHT HERE for free. Please listen, subscribe, rate and review. (Start on Episode 1 and catch up!) In new Ep29 we welcome in special guest Izzy Gutierrez of ESPN to talk Heat and NBA playoffs and (yes) who's got the best restaurant bread. Greg and Chris also talk Heat-Celtics, Dolphins’ loss to Buffalo, Canes, Marlins’ playoff run and more. And Chris reveals something about Greg at a restaurant table that he finds annoying. Will you agree? Of course there's a new Mount Gregmore, too -- the L's. Hear all of that and more on the new Greg Cote Show podcast now!

HeatcelticsHEAT-CELTICS GAME 3: LOSS MEANS THE HARD PART STARTS NOW FOR MIAMI: Miami was in command up 2-0 in this NBA Eastern Conference finals, in a dreamy postseason run that began 10-1. But Saturday's 117-106 Game 3 loss means the Heat suddenly feel some pressure. My latest column: The Fun Starts Now As Heat's Joy-Ride Postseason Finally Hit a Bump. The tension marinates now, because Game 4 isn't 'til Wednesday night. [Column off Game 2: Miracle Or Magic, Miami Heat's Stunning Postseason Run Continues. Off G1: Unexpected Playoff Run Makes Miami Heat the Most Fun Ride In Sports Right Now].

MannySIX PACK 'O TAKEAWAYS FROM CANES' WIN AT LOUISVILLE: No. 17 Miami handled 18-Louisville 47-34 last night. I had it right (see previous blogpost), predicting UM would win 31-27. Six Pack 'O Takeaways: 1. They passed. First big test of the season. ACC opener. First road game. An opposing (though limited) crowd to deal with. UM handled it all. 2. King shines. His NCAA record streak of games with both a passing and rushing TD ended, but D'Eriq King threw for 325 yards and three TDs. Transfer is the real deal. 3. Cam'Ron = Cam'Run. Second straight big game from RB Cam'Ron with 134 yards including a 75-yard TD. 4. The Defense. It needs to be better. Had three takeaways, yes.But also gave up 516 Louisville yards. 5. Work ahead. Next three games are rival Florida State, at No. 1 Clemson, then vs. No. 25 Pitt. Miami will be sitting pretty if it comes out 4-1. 6. A chance. Manny Diaz Year 2.0 is off to promising start. Ranked and with ESPN's College GameDay coming for the FSU game, The U has a chance to get back on the national map. Don't blow it!

BufmiaG2: BUFFALO 31, @DOLPHINS 28: WHERE IS MIAMI's DEFENSE?: My column off Sunday's narrow Dolphins loss: Power Outage, Lightning Delay, No Pass Defense As Dolphins Drop Home Opener to Bills. Original post: We an agree (or should) that New England even post-Tom Brady remains the cream of the AFC East until another team proves otherwise. And, since the New York Jets appear to stink, Buffalo at Miami is the game whose winner will nominate itself for the early inside track in the Dethroning Bill Belichick Sweepstakes. Buffalo is the clear favorite for that, a 5 1/2-point road pick on Sunday. The Bills are anointed as having caught up to the less-than-they-were Patriots. It's the improving Dolphins who must show they're ready to be seen as contenders now, not just maybe soon. They did not in the 21-11 loss at New England in the opener. So this game will  tell a lot. Can the Fins mount a consistent ground game to take the heat off Ryan Fitzpatrick? Can Miami's defense contain dual-threat Bills QB Josh Allen better than it did Cam Newton last week? And, on a side note, will the maximum-allowed 13,000 brave or foolish souls actually flock to a stadium in the midst of a pandemic? Are that many Dolfans that desperate or cavalier? I don’t like the matchup much for Miami. Bills secondary will be tough to throw on, and DeVante Parker (hamstring) was late-week iffy. And Allen will be a handful for Fins’ D. Finally, a reminder to Dolfans and the we-want-Tua cheerleaders among my media brethren: Chill, please. Don't start your chant at the next Fitz pick or Fins loss. Can we at least wait ‘til bleepin’ midseason!? Rookie QB Tua Tagovailoa needs to find his readiness, physically and otherwise, at an unhurried pace unmindful of the season record or Fitzpatrick’s passer rating. Please repeat that as needed. My pick: Bills (-5 1/2) over Dolphins, 24-17

For all of our latest picks: NFL Week 2 Gems. For our column off Miami's opener: Dolphins Lose to Pats, But Win With No-Hurry Plan On Tua.

HOT BUTTON TOP 10 (SEPTEMBER 20-21): WHAT SOUTH FLORIDA SPORTS FANS ARE TALKING ABOUT: Our blog-exclusive Sunday-into-Monday 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:

HButton1. HEAT: Brooms stay in closet. Miami's ECF lead down to 2-1: Boston's 117-106 win Saturday night means Miami's Eastern Conference finals lead is now 2-1 as we wait (and wait) for Game 4 on Wednesday night. The Heat's habit of falling behind and needing miracle rallies finally came back to haunt. Out West, Lakers are up 2-0 on Denver after Sunday's 105-103 escape on Anthony Davis' last-second 3. For Miami, the climb to a Heat vs. LeBron NBA Finals just got steeper.

2. HURRICANES: Huge! No. 17 UM wins at No. 18 Louisville: Not a lot of defense in Louisville Saturday night as Miami handled the Cardinals 47-34. But that D'Eriq King and Cam'Ron Harris-led offense looks sweet. And pretty unstoppable so far. Rival Florida State on deck, here, next Saturday. ESPN's College GameDay coming, too. Let's see how The U (rocketing up to 12th in AP poll after win) handles the spotlight.

3. MARLINS: Playoff-bound? Miracle Fish in stretch run: Miami is 28-25 and looking strong for a playoff ticket after Sunday's doubleheader split with Washington. ESPN's computer model puts Miami's playoff likelihood at 83.8 percent entering today entering seven games on road starting tonight in Atlanta to end the truncated 60-game regular season. 

4. DOLPHINS: Miami falls to Buffalo in wild home opener: Yes, a Dolphins home opener is only fourth on the HB10. A power outage that knocked the game off network TV for a half hour. Then a lightning delay that delayed the game 36 minutes. Finally, a 31-28 Miami loss because the Fins' supposedly improved pass defense looks pretty awful so far. Quick turnaround now as Miami plays at Jacksonville this Thursday night. COVID protocols limited the home-opening crowd to a max of 13,000, but only 11,075 showed at Hard Rock.

5. INTER MIAMI: Expansion team stays hot, wins at Atlanta: Inter Miami began its MLS life 0-5. Since then the lads have won three and drawn two of their last seven matches with Saturday's 2-1 victory at Atlanta United. Next: Wednesday vs. New York Red Bulls. Team also formally signed Juventus striker Gonzalo Higuain after earlier agreeing to terms.

6. GOLF: Nope. The no-name kid could not hang on in U.S. Open: His name is Matthew Wolff. He's 21. You don't know him and shouldn't, but he had a 2-shot leading entering Sunday's final round of the U.S. Open. Chasing, two back: Accomplished Bryson DeChambeau. Well, predictably, the kid wilted, and DeChambeau wound up beating him by six strokes for his first (of what you guess will be many) major wins.

7. COLLEGE FOOTBALL: Weak, waffling Big Ten re-enters season: They joined the Pac-10 as the two Power 5 conferences to be the adults in the room and not play football during the pandemic. But the weak, waffling BIg Ten Ten changed its mind and will start its season October 23-24. Weak. 

8. NHL: Dallas strikes first in Stanley Cup Final: Tampa Bay is a big favorite (or was) but Dallas cruised 4-1 in the Final opener, with Game 2 on Monday. Lightning-Stars. Hmm. I know y'all are loving it in Tampa and Dallas, but, um, can I borrow a telescope to find the national TV ratings?

9. NBA: LeBron squawks as Giannis wins another MVP: Milwaukee's Giannis Antetokounmpo handily won a second straight NBA MVP award despite his team's playoff fizzle. And runnerup LeBron James of the Lakers wasn't having it. "I'm pissed," he admitted. (And with pretty good cause, it says here). 

10. NASCAR: Harvick wins as playoff field trimmed: Kevin Harvick won in Bristol, Tennessee Saturday to establish himself as the season's NASCAR Cup fronturnner as the sport's playoff field pared from 16 drivers to 12.

Missing the HB10 cut: The majors keep-a-comin'! Tennis' long-delayed French Open starts next Sunday ..... The Tour de France ends Sunday, with 21-year-old Slovenian Tadej Pogacar the guy to beat ..... MLB and players agreed to a playoffs-in-a-bubble plan ..... English Premier League season is underway. Go Everton! ..... The Greg Cote Show podcast's new Episode 29 is out now! ..... Update: Countdown now 2,108 days (give or take) until Miami hosts its first match in soccer's 2026 World Cup. That's if Miami isn't underwater and there's still a world by then.


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THE COTE ARCHIVES:

Our football special-section column troika: TUA TAGOVAILOA IS DOLPHINS' SAVIOR SENT TO BRING NEW GLORY ... IF PROPHECY IS TRUE  /  WHO'S SUPER BOWL-BOUND? WHERE DO FINS FALL? OUR 2020 NFL-IN-PANDEMIC TEAM RANKINGS  /  and FOR MIAMI & AMERICA, HERE COMES A COLLEGE FOOTBALL SEASON WE'LL NEVER FORGET

Other notable most recent columns: Dolphins Lose to Pats, But Win With No-Hurry Plan On Tua / 'If I Die, I Die.' QB Cousins' Shamefully Cavalier Attitude On Pandemic / Heat Beat Bucks In Game 1, In A Series Also About '21 Free Agency / Boycott Of NBA Playoffs Shows Nation That Injustice Is Bigger Than Sports Right Now / Having Fans at Dolphins, Canes Games A Bad Idea And Big Risk / Pat Riley's Grand Plan On Track As Heat Close In On Playoff Advance / For Marlins, A Home Opener -- And First Place -- In Mid-August / Fall Without Football: Big Ten, Pac-12 Set Moral Compass for NFL, Others to Follow / As Panthers Move on From Tallon, Who's Next Miami Team Executive on Hot Seat? / 'Perfect Storm For Virus Transmission': Why Football Is Struggling to Lift Off / Marlins Outbreak Worsens, Sports Should Rethink Playing Again in 2020 / Marlins Delaying Home Opener For COVID Outbreak a Scary Lesson For All Sports / Don Shula, 1930-2020, R.I.P. / What Shula Meant to a Father & Son. They Boy Was Me / Sports' Gradual Return Offers America Relief We Desperately Need / It Took George Floyd To Finally Wake Up White America / Goodell's NFL Response to Floyd Killing Is Hypocrisy At Its Most Ironic / and George Floyd Is Why Kaepernick & Sports Must Continue Fight For Social Justice

Other notable recent columns: Here's Why Nobody Should Rule Out Heat Reaching NBA Finals / Marlins and Dolphins, In a Race For Relevance, Offer Hope At a Time We Need That / When Will Dolphins Unleash Tua? Exploring the Timetable as Rookies Report / He Made a Mistake, But Miami Knows Who Dwyane Wade Is And Knows It By Heart / Marlins Captain Miguel Rojas On Pandemic And Playoffs As Baseball Returns / 'Redskins Is Racist Nickname Based On a Lie. Time For It to Disappear / Money Or Health? NFL and Major College Football Face A Decision / Tough Times All Around, But Rise Of Miami Sports Offers Hope / The Face Of Miami Sports in 2020: Our Top 20 And Who's No.1 / Time to Abort Season Restarts and Call Off Sports For Rest Of 2020 / Uh-oh. Cam Newton means Belichick and Patriots Are Back / Saving the National Anthem From Sporting-Event Extinction / Noose Left For NASCAR's Bubba Wallace's Only Grows Resolve to End Racial Hatred / and Team That Signs Kaepernick Will Be Champions Of the Street

Select columns from earlier in 2020: Amid Pandemic And Protests, 'America's Pastime' Is Letting American Down / Return Of Sports Promises Historic TV Smorgasbord / Homestead Is Test Lab As NASCAR Gradually Welcomes Back Fans / R.I.P. Kurt Thomas, an American Gymnastics Pioneer  / MLB Players Demanding More Millions, Right Now, Is A Bad Look / Amid a Pandemic, An Outrage in Alamance County / Welcome to Sports Without Fans, the New Normal / As NBA, MLB Plot Return, We Miss Them -- Yet Sports Have Never Seemed More Trivial / Anticipation of Relevance, Excitement Is Tua's Gift to Miami / Hall of Famer Andre Dawson On Baseball and Owning a Funeral Home Amid COVID-19 / Dolphins Aim High, Win Big With Tua Tagovailoa Pick / Greg Cote's 2020 NFL Mock Draft / NFL Draft Will Offer Blunt Verdict on Canes' Talent / Ultimate All-Time South Florida Major Sports Trivia Challenge / Sports Should Stop Pretending It Will Resume Anytime Soon As Coronovirus Rages / How a Longtime Herald Sport Writer Came to Own a Top Contender in Florida Derby / Le Batard Show Deals with Coronavirus-Related Upheaval / Brady Leaving Patriots for Tampa. Will Belichick Be Proved Right In Letting Him Go? / Miami Sports Now Utterly Engulfed By Coronavirus Threat -- But Precaution Is Justified / Inter Miami Is Market's Sleeping Giant As Home Opener Nears / Jeter Arrives At Camp, Calls Marlins 'Layered With Talent' / Dwyane Wade, His Transgender Daughter And A Lesson In Love / Time For Anonymous Lone Voter Who Denied Jeter To Step Forward / Heat And Gloriously Impatient Riley Win In Trade For Iguodala / Return Of Ed Reed, Even If Mostly Symbolic, Leads Surge By Canes Football / Kobe's Death Sends Sports World Reeling, But Immortality Is His / Jimmy Johnson's Biggest Triumph? Knowing When To Quit -- And Why / Announcing Miami Dolphins' 2010-19 All-Decade Team / How One Man Long Forgotten Changed Everything For the Miami Dolphins and How Shula Made Dolphins Perfect and Made Miami Matter, And the Coach Today at 90 

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Revisit this blog often because it updates regularly. The Associated Press Sports Editors writing awards ranked the blog's author a Top 10 national sports columnist in the major-outlet category. Greg is also a regular on the Dan Le Batard Show With Stugotz on ESPN Radio. Finding Greg Cote: TwitterInstagramFacebookColumnsPodcastPodcast on TwitterPodcast on InstagramLeBatard Show. Book: Fins At 50. Songs: Letting Go (audio) and The Ballad Of 1440 (video).

September 14, 2020

G1: @New England 21, Dolphins 11: Power shift in AFC East? (Not yet). My column off game; plus latest Hot Button Top 10 (updated) as Fins opener, Heat-Celtics vie for top; also, Greg Cote Show podcast new Episode 28 out now & more

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

1) It's MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 14. The Greg Cote Show podcast is now separately on Twitter and Instagram. Follow us on both! 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Canes slap UAB in opener, Chiefs win ushers in NFL season, Your verdict on Greg's Lobos fantasy draft, Greg Cote Show podcast Episode 27 & more. 4) Join us on Twitter and Instagram.

OUR FOOTBALL SPECIAL-SECTION TRIUMVIRATE!: TUA TAGOVAILOA IS DOLPHINS' SAVIOR SENT TO BRING NEW GLORY ... IF PROPHECY IS TRUE  /  WHO'S SUPER BOWL-BOUND? WHERE DO FINS FALL? OUR 2020 NFL-IN-PANDEMIC TEAM RANKINGS  /  and FOR MIAMI & AMERICA, HERE COMES A COLLEGE FOOTBALL SEASON WE'LL NEVER FORGET

CoteshowGREG COTE SHOW PODCAST: NEW EPISODE 28 OUT NOW!: Our Miami Herald podcast, "The Greg Cote Show With Greg Cote," debuted in March and new Episode 28 is out now! New episodes drop early every Monday morning on Apple, Spotify, Google, Stitcher, Megaphone, iHeart -- wherever you pod, and of course at MiamiHerald.com. Find all 28 we've done so far RIGHT HERE for free! Please listen, subscribe, rate and review. In Ep28 we get all sportsy -- sportsier than we've ever been. Greg and Chris chew over the Dolphins and Hurricanes season openers with a dash of Marlins and Inter Miami talk. Mostly we dive deep into Heat-Celtics with special guest Amin Elhassan, the ESPN NBA expert. And he makes a bold prediction. Of course there's a new Mount Gregmore, too -- the K's. Here all that and more on the Greg Cote Show podcast now!

G1: @NEW ENGLAND 21, DOLPHINS 11: INTO THE GREAT UNKNOWN...: Visit Dolphins Lose to Pats, But Win With No-Hurry Plan On Tua for my column off Sunday's opener. ..... Original post: The Great Unknown: Football in a pandemic. Tom Brady gone. Dolphins on the rise. AFC East power shift? The finding out starts today at 1 p.m. at a Foxborough Stadium where no fans will attend. History: This is first time since 1999 New England has fielded a team without Brady. In general regard Bill FitzBelichick’s Cam
Patriots have sunk from dynasty to just another mid-pack team with the departure of Brady and all those coronavirus-related opt outs decimating the defense. That’s while the Dolphins, via a stockpile of high draft picks and big spending in free agency, have hugely upgraded their roster. So it’s New England in decline vs. Miami ascending in an evolving AFC East. That’s why I like Fins with the points here and why an outright upset would only mildly surprise. Still an edge to Patriots, though. Those guys are still are tough on D, and a healthy dual-threat Cam Newton, Brady's replacement, is a lot to defend. There’s still that Belichick guy, too. Dolphins should be much improved, but, out the gate, and with no preseason, the Fins’ young offensive line may especially struggle early in the season to protect Ryan Fitzpatrick while rookie Tua Tagovailoa grows unhurried into the starting role. Question for pics at right: Who's postgame cooler: Fitzpatrick or Newton? My pick: Patriots (-6 1/2) over Dolphins, 24-20.

For all of our opening week previews and picks: NFL Week 1 Gems.

[Note to readers: The Dolfan Satisfaction Meter (and Canesfan Satisfaction Meter) postgame polls have retired. After a long and successful run, we are using this weird pandemic season to make a clean break. Thanks to all you many DSM and CSM fans who have participated over the years!]

HOT BUTTON TOP 10 (SEPTEMBER 13-14): WHAT SOUTH FLORIDA SPORTS FANS ARE TALKING ABOUT: Our blog-exclusive Sunday-into-Monday 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:

HButton1. DOLPHINS: Miami opens 55th season with loss at New England: No Tom Brady. No fans in the stands. After no preseason. Otherwise, Dolphins at Patriots as usual. Is the post-Brady AFC East evolving? Are the improved/improving Dolphins ready to make their move after a bunch  of high draft picks and big spending in free agency? Quick answer: Not yet. Patriots 21, Fins 11. And the Year of Waiting For Tua has begun! (Meanwhile, Fins remained in lockerroom during pregame national anthem as a form of protest against racial injustice).

2. HEAT/NBA: Rested Miami to meet rival Boston in Eastern finals: After a shockingly easy 4-1 dispatch of top-seeded Milwaukee making Miami 8-1 this postseason, the Heat watched Friday night as Boston won its semifinal Game 7 over Toronto, 92-87. Game 1 of the Heat-Celtics Eastern finals is Tuesday, with Miami now four wins from reaching its first NBA Finals since 2014. The Lakers reached the West finals on Saturday; Clippers and Denver are 3-3 entering Game 7 Tuesday.

3. HURRICANES: UM ushers in Manny Diaz Year 2 with comfy win: Miami became the first Power 5 conference team to open the 2020 college football season Thursday night with a 31-14 home cruise past UAB (Alabama-Birmingham) of Conference USA, as new QB D'Eriq King debuted with 227 total yards and three TDS. Crowd at The Rock fell well short of the 13,000 max allowed by coronavirus protocols. Based on a low-watt opponent and health concerns, no surprise. Win sent UM rocketing from unranked to No. 17 in The AP Top 25.

4. MARLINS: Fish sweep DH, move past Phillies in playoff chase: Miami shook off the embarrassment of a 29-9 loss to Atlanta -- most runs allowed in an MLB game since 2007. Because there was a playoff race to worry about. Fish swept doubleheader from Phillies Sunday and wrap up an unprecedented seven-game home series with Philly today. Miami at 23-21 is now a half-game ahead of Philadelphia in NL East in chase for a playoff spot.

5. NFL: Brady-Brees 'Old G.O.A.T.s Bowl' tops Week 1 schedule: After Patrick Mahomes and champion Chiefs christened season with a Thursday win, full slate on for Sunday featured Tom Brady's debut in a Tampa Bay Bucs uniform, facing fellow old-timer Drew Brees in New Orleans. Combined age: 84 years 9 months. Oxygen tanks ready? Drew won.

6. INTER MIAMI: Improving expansion team scores huge signing with Higuain: Former Juventus striker and new Inter Miami star Gonzalo Higuain has arrived on the heel of Miami also signing former French World Cup star Blaise Matuidi. Meanwhile the vastly improving rookie club, after an 0-5 start, has won two and drawn two in its past six matches after Saturday's 2-1 loss to Orlando City. Next: At Atlanta United next Saturday.

7. TENNIS: Serena denied history again as U.S. Open reaches title weekend: Serena Williams fell short yet again in her bid for a record-tying 24th career major win. Instead No. 4 seed Naomi Osaka beat unseeded Victoria Azarenka for Saturday's U.S. Open women's championship. It was Dominic Thiem over Alexander Zverev in Sunday's low-watt men's final. Serena, about to turn 39, will give history another shot in the French open starting September 27.

8. GOLF: Koepka out as U.S. Open begins on Thursday: Major at Winged Foot is this Thursday through Sunday, but without two-time champ Brooks Koepka, an injury withdrawal. Dustin Johnson leads a still-strong field as 8-1 betting favorite. Tiger Woods is tied for eighth pick at 28-1 odds.

9. NHL: Heading to a Tampa-Dallas Stanley Cup Final?: Tampa Bay leads N.Y. Islanders 3-1 in the East finals after Sunday's win and aims to clinch Tuesday. IN the West Dallas leads Vegas 3-1 after Saturday's win and can clinch on Monday.

10. NASCAR: Playoffs two races in as first cuts near: NASCAR's 10-race playoffs are two races, with Brad Keselowski and Kevin Harvick having won so far. Field will trim from 16 drivers to 12 after the next race.

Missing the HB10 cut: Sports smorgasbord! This past Thursday the NFL, college football, NBA, MLB, NHL, MLS and U.S. Open tennis all were playing. Full yet? ..... Six Top 25 teams played Saturday; only No. 23 Iowa State fell, to Louisiana. Florida State also lost (to Georgia Tech) , the only other state FBS team besides UM to play in Week 2..... MLB's playoffs-in-a-bubble plan awaits players unIon approval ..... The weak Big Ten is wavering on whether to not play this fall ..... English Premier League season has begun! ..... Well it sure has been a good while since Conor McGregor's been in trouble. Oh. Wait ..... USWNT star Alex Morgan is joning Tottenham Hotspur's women's club on loan ..... Bubba Wallace, NASCAR driver and the man who removed the Confederate flag from his sport, is leaving Richard Petty Motorsports after this season ..... A bunch of men you've never heard of are riding really expensive bicycles in the Tour de France, and it ends next Sunday ..... The Greg Cote Show podcast's new Episode 28 is out Monday morning ..... Update: Countdown now 2,115 days (give or take) until Miami hosts its first match in soccer's 2026 World Cup. Always cheerily assuming the world hasn't imploded by then.

Other most recent columns: 'If I Die, I Die.' QB Cousins' Shamefully Cavalier Attitude On Pandemic and our columns off Heat-Bucks Games 1 and 2: Lifting Spirits And A City: Heat, Up 2-0, Continue Pandemic Playoff Run and Heat Beat Bucks In Game 1, In A Series Also About '21 Free Agency. Also: Boycott Of NBA Playoffs Shows Nation That Injustice Is Bigger Than Sports Right Now and Having Fans at Dolphins, Canes Games A Bad Idea And Big Risk. And: Pat Riley's Grand Plan On Track As Heat Close In On Playoff Advance / For Marlins, A Home Opener -- And First Place -- In Mid-August / Fractured College Football Mirrors America's Divide On How to Handle a Pandemic / Fall Without Football: Big Ten, Pac-12 Set Moral Compass for NFL, Others to Follow / As Panthers Move on From Tallon, Who's Next Miami Team Executive on Hot Seat? / and 'Perfect Storm For Virus Transmission': Why Football Is Struggling to Lift Off.

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THE COTE ARCHIVES:

Marlins Hell Week Trilogy: Are Marlins To Blame For Own Outbreak? If So It Would Mirror America's Struggle / Marlins Outbreak Worsens, Sports Should Rethink Playing Again in 2020 / and Marlins Delaying Home Opener For COVID Outbreak a Scary Lesson For All SportsSpecial Don Shula tribute: Don Shula, 1930-2020, R.I.P. / and What Shula Meant to a Father & Son. They Boy Was MeGeorge Floyd-related: Sports' Gradual Return Offers America Relief We Desperately Need / It Took George Floyd To Finally Wake Up White America / Goodell's NFL Response to Floyd Killing Is Hypocrisy At Its Most Ironic / and George Floyd Is Why Kaepernick & Sports Must Continue Fight For Social Justice

Other most recent columns: Here's Why Nobody Should Rule Out Heat Reaching NBA Finals / Marlins and Dolphins, In a Race For Relevance, Offer Hope At a Time We Need That / When Will Dolphins Unleash Tua? Exploring the Timetable as Rookies Report / Sports Resume, But Major Concerns Complicate Opening of Football Training Camps / He Made a Mistake, But Miami Knows Who Dwyane Wade Is And Knows It By Heart / Marlins Captain Miguel Rojas On Pandemic And Playoffs As Baseball Returns / Rest In Pieces, Redskins. Now Here Are Sports' Other Suspect Nicknames / 'Redskins Is Racist Nickname Based On a Lie. Time For It to Disappear / Money Or Health? NFL and Major College Football Face A Decision / Tough Times All Around, But Rise Of Miami Sports Offers Hope / The Face Of Miami Sports in 2020: Our Top 20 And Who's No.1 / Time to Abort Season Restarts and Call Off Sports For Rest Of 2020 / Uh-oh. Cam Newton means Belichick and Patriots Are Back / Saving the National Anthem From Sporting-Event Extinction / Baseball Joins In With Restart Plan. But Is Sports Walking Into a Giant Mess? / Noose Left For NASCAR's Bubba Wallace's Only Grows Resolve to End Racial Hatred / and Team That Signs Kaepernick Will Be Champions Of the Street

Select columns from earlier in 2020: Amid Pandemic And Protests, 'America's Pastime' Is Letting American Down / Return Of Sports Promises Historic TV Smorgasbord / Homestead Is Test Lab As NASCAR Gradually Welcomes Back Fans / R.I.P. Kurt Thomas, an American Gymnastics Pioneer  / MLB Players Demanding More Millions, Right Now, Is A Bad Look / Amid a Pandemic, An Outrage in Alamance County / Welcome to Sports Without Fans, the New Normal / As NBA, MLB Plot Return, We Miss Them -- Yet Sports Have Never Seemed More Trivial / Anticipation of Relevance, Excitement Is Tua's Gift to Miami / Hall of Famer Andre Dawson On Baseball and Owning a Funeral Home Amid COVID-19 / Dolphins Aim High, Win Big With Tua Tagovailoa Pick / Greg Cote's 2020 NFL Mock Draft / Coronavirus, Tua Make This Dolphins' Weirdest, Most Interesting Draft Ever / NFL Draft Will Offer Blunt Verdict on Canes' Talent / Ultimate All-Time South Florida Major Sports Trivia Challenge / Sports Should Stop Pretending It Will Resume Anytime Soon As Coronovirus Rages / How a Longtime Herald Sport Writer Came to Own a Top Contender in Florida Derby / Time for NBA, NHL to Shut it Down, End Seasons / Le Batard Show Deals with Coronavirus-Related Upheaval / Brady Leaving Patriots for Tampa. Will Belichick Be Proved Right In Letting Him Go? / Miami Sports Now Utterly Engulfed By Coronavirus Threat -- But Precaution Is Justified / Inter Miami Is Market's Sleeping Giant As Home Opener Nears / Jeter Arrives At Camp, Calls Marlins 'Layered With Talent' / Dwyane Wade, His Transgender Daughter And A Lesson In Love / Time For Anonymous Lone Voter Who Denied Jeter To Step Forward / Heat And Gloriously Impatient Riley Win In Trade For Iguodala / Return Of Ed Reed, Even If Mostly Symbolic, Leads Surge By Canes Football / Kobe's Death Sends Sports World Reeling, But Immortality Is His / Jimmy Johnson's Biggest Triumph? Knowing When To Quit -- And Why / Announcing Miami Dolphins' 2010-19 All-Decade Team / and two-part series on how Dolphins' Glory Day happened: How One Man Long Forgotten Changed Everything For the Miami Dolphins and How Shula Made Dolphins Perfect and Made Miami Matter, And the Coach Today at 90 

-- * -- * -- * -- * -- * -- * -- * -- * -- * --

Revisit this blog often because it updates regularly. The Associated Press Sports Editors writing awards ranked the blog's author a Top 10 national sports columnist in the major-outlet category. Greg is also a regular on the Dan Le Batard Show With Stugotz on ESPN Radio. Finding Greg Cote: TwitterInstagramFacebookColumnsPodcastPodcast on TwitterPodcast on InstagramLeBatard Show. Book: Fins At 50. Songs: Letting Go (audio) and The Ballad Of 1440 (video).

September 07, 2020

Latest Hot Button Top 10 (updated): Heat denied the broom, Canes open, Fins 'n Fish. See who's No.1 and what else falls where this week; plus new Greg Cote Show podcast Episode 27 -- with Meet the Press star and huge Canes fan Chuck Todd -- out now & more

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

1) It's MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 7. Happy Labor Day, all! Please remember: COVID-19 doesn't take the holiday off. Be safe. Be smart. 2) The Greg Cote Show podcast is now separately on Twitter and Instagram. Follow us on both! 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Kirk Cousins' cavalier comments on pandemic, Our columns off Heat-Bucks Games 1 and 2, Greg Cote Show podcast Episode 26 & more. 4) Join us on Twitter and Instagram.

CoteshowGREG COTE SHOW PODCAST: NEW EPISODE 27 STARRING CHUCK TODD OUT NOW!: Our Miami Herald podcast, "The Greg Cote Show With Greg Cote," debuted in March and we're back with new Episode 27, out now! New episodes drop early every Monday morning on Apple, Spotify, Google, Stitcher, Megaphone, iHeart or wherever you pod, and of course at MiamiHerald.com. Find all 27 we've done so far RIGHT HERE for free! Please listen, subscribe, rate and review. In new Ep26 we welcome in very special guest Chuck Todd, the NBA Meet the Press moderator who also happens to be Miami born and raised and a huge Hurricanes fans. He talks growing up in the 3-0-5, UM football and also a bit of politics. What was his pinch-me moment? The answer will surprise you. Greg and Chris also talk Heat-Bucks. And of course there's a new Mount Gregmore -- the royal J's. Here all that and more on the the Greg Cote Show podcast now!

Our most recent columns: 'If I Die, I Die.' QB Cousins' Shamefully Cavalier Attitude On Pandemic and our columns off Heat-Bucks Games 1 and 2: Lifting Spirits And A City: Heat, Up 2-0, Continue Pandemic Playoff Run and Heat Beat Bucks In Game 1, In A Series Also About '21 Free Agency. Also: Boycott Of NBA Playoffs Shows Nation That Injustice Is Bigger Than Sports Right Now and Having Fans at Dolphins, Canes Games A Bad Idea And Big Risk.

HOT BUTTON TOP 10 (SEPTEMBER 6-7): WHAT SOUTH FLORIDA SPORTS FANS ARE TALKING ABOUT: Our blog-exclusive Sunday-into-Monday 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:

HButton1. HEAT: Broom denied, but Miami still up 3-1 on Milwaukee: Underdog fifth-seed Heat were denied a series sweep Sunday but still hold a commanding 3-1 lead over top-seeded Bucks in NBA Eastern Conference semifinals. Heat go for the win and a ticket to the East finals in Game 5 Tuesday if necessary. Miami last reached the East finals in 2014, the last season of LeBron and the Big 3.

2. HURRICANES: College football is back! Miami opens Thursday night: The Canes open their season vs. 16-point underdog UAB (Alabama-Birmingham) Thursday night at 8 at Hard Rock Stadium, where coronavirus protocols will limit attendance to a max 20 percent of capacity, or 13,000. Seven Top 25 teams are in action this coming week including No. 1 Clemson at Wake Forest. The only state school in action besides UM is Florida State hosting Georgia Tech next Saturday.

3. DOLPHINS/NFL: Rosen released, now, ready or not: Kickoff in 6 days: Dolphins open their 55th season and first in a pandemic next Sunday at New England with Ryan Fitzpatrick again expected under center as rookie first-rounder Tua Tagovailoa waits his turn. Miami cut third-stringer Josh Rosen on Friday after failing to find a trade partner. Opener will be instant measure of Miami's improvement and a new AFC East after offseason that saw Patriots decimated by Tom Brady's departure and coronavirus opt-outs. The quick test for Fins's improved defense? One Cam Newton. King Sport kicks off this Thursday night with Houston at champ Kansas City.  

4. MARLINS: Alcantara helps end skid vs. Rays, then  Fish fall Sunday: Nifty outing by Sandy Alcantara lifted Miami on Saturday and ended a nine-game losing streak vs. Tampa Bay. But then Fish fell Sunday to tumble 17-18 in midst of six-game road trip that heads now to Atlanta. Miami has fallen to third in NL East but is still in the hunt. Trade-deadline acquisition of outfielder Starling Marte added a potent bat to the lineup to aid the playoff push.

5. NBA: Yes, there are three other playoff series, and all are tied: Miami awaits winner of Boston-Toronto, which leveled at 2-2 Saturday with Raptors' second straight win; Game 5 is tonight. Out west, L.A. Clippers and Denver are tied 1-1- after Nuggets' win Saturday, with Game 3 tonight. Houston and James Harden and LeBron's L.A. Lakers are tied 1-1, with Game 3 Tuesday.

6. INTER MIAMI: Expansion team goes nil-nil with Nashville: Inter Miami is 1-6-2 after a second straight 0-0 draw, this Sunday night at home vs. fellow expansion team Nashville. Game marked the Miami debut of Blaise Matuidi, formerly of reigning Italian champions Juventus and before that Paris St. Germain. Of greater note: Inter Miami reportedly is close to agreeing to terms with Juventus striker Gonzalo Higuain. It would be the biggest signing yet for David Beckham's struggling first-year club.

7. HORSE RACING: Authentic with big upset win in Kentucky Derby: Authentic outraced heavy favorite Tiz the Law to win the 146th Kentucky Derby on Saturday at Churchill Downs. With John Velazquez aboard, Authentic led from start to finish to give trainer Bob Baffert his record-tying sixth Derby champion in the race delayed by four months. There were protests outside track over the Breonna Taylor killing by Louisville police.

8. GOLF: U.S. Open gets under way Thursday: The virus-delayed U.S. Open is this coming Thursday through next Sunday at Winged Foot in New York. Betting favorites are Dustin Johnson along with Jon Rahm, Bryson DeChambeau, Rory McIlroy and Brooks Koepka. Tiger Woods is tied for seventh favorites, because a stunning number of bets are placed by sentiment ad hope.

9. TENNIS: Depleted U.S. Open reaches its midpoint with Djokovic controversy: Faced with her earliest ouster at the U.S. Open since her debut 22 years ago, Serena Williams rallied from a set down to beat American rival Sloane Stephens 2-6, 6-2, 6-2 in the delayed, no-fans major. Serena stays alive in hunt for her record-tying 24th major at the open's midpoint. Sunday, men's favorite Novak Djokovic was ousted by default after he hit a ball in anger that struck a line judge in the neck.

10. NHL: Final four! Conference finals set: The Florida Panthers filled their general manager opening by hiring Bill Zito away from the Columbus Blue Jackets. Teams not needing to fire their GM because they're really good: the NHL's Final Four! Out west, Dallas took a 1-0 lead on Vegas Sunday. In the East, Tampa Bay and N.Y. Islanders begin skating Monday. Meanwhile, yet another year of no Stanley Cup for Canada.

Missing the HB10 cut: NASCAR's 16-driver playoffs get underway Sunday at Darlington. Kevin Harvick and Denny Hamlin are betting favorites among the field qualified for the 10-race playoffs that end with the Championship Four racing for the season crown Nov. 8 in Phoenix, ending Homestead's 18-year run as title-race host ..... Lionel Messi is staying at Barcelona! It ends a week's tempest of his own doing. (Keep his phone number handy anyway, David Beckham) ..... Vikings QB Kirk Cousins, who doubts the efficacy of mask-wearing, says, "If I die, I die." About a coronavirus pandemic that has already killed more than 185,000 Americans. What a cavalier, callous expression from a supposed team leader ..... The Tour de France is at its midpoint and I can't bring myself to pretend I've heard of a single cyclist ..... Match made in gambling heaven: Michael Jordan is a new equity partner in DraftKings ..... Welcome to Twitter, Vin Scully! Social media does not deserve but dearly needs your civility ..... Brooklyn Nets hired Steve Nash as new coach ..... Florida Panthers owner Vincent Viola was named a part of a new NHL anti-racism initiative ..... The Greg Cote Show podcast's new Episode 27 is out Monday morning ..... R.I.P. to the greatest Met of all, Tom Seaver, gone at 75 ..... Update: Countdown now 2,122 days (give or take) until Miami hosts its first match in soccer's 2026 World Cup. We will all still be six feet apart then?

Most recent other columns: Pat Riley's Grand Plan On Track As Heat Close In On Playoff Advance / For Marlins, A Home Opener -- And First Place -- In Mid-August / Fractured College Football Mirrors America's Divide On How to Handle a Pandemic / Fall Without Football: Big Ten, Pac-12 Set Moral Compass for NFL, Others to Follow / As Panthers Move on From Tallon, Who's Next Miami Team Executive on Hot Seat? / and 'Perfect Storm For Virus Transmission': Why Football Is Struggling to Lift Off.

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THE COTE ARCHIVES:

Marlins Hell Week Trilogy: Are Marlins To Blame For Own Outbreak? If So It Would Mirror America's Struggle / Marlins Outbreak Worsens, Sports Should Rethink Playing Again in 2020 / and Marlins Delaying Home Opener For COVID Outbreak a Scary Lesson For All Sports.

Special Don Shula tribute: Don Shula, 1930-2020, R.I.P. / and What Shula Meant to a Father & Son. They Boy Was Me.

George Floyd-related: Sports' Gradual Return Offers America Relief We Desperately Need / It Took George Floyd To Finally Wake Up White America / Goodell's NFL Response to Floyd Killing Is Hypocrisy At Its Most Ironic / and George Floyd Is Why Kaepernick & Sports Must Continue Fight For Social Justice

Other most recent columns: Here's Why Nobody Should Rule Out Heat Reaching NBA Finals / Marlins and Dolphins, In a Race For Relevance, Offer Hope At a Time We Need That / When Will Dolphins Unleash Tua? Exploring the Timetable as Rookies Report / Sports Resume, But Major Concerns Complicate Opening of Football Training Camps / He Made a Mistake, But Miami Knows Who Dwyane Wade Is And Knows It By Heart / Marlins Captain Miguel Rojas On Pandemic And Playoffs As Baseball Returns / Rest In Pieces, Redskins. Now Here Are Sports' Other Suspect Nicknames / 'Redskins Is Racist Nickname Based On a Lie. Time For It to Disappear / Money Or Health? NFL and Major College Football Face A Decision / Tough Times All Around, But Rise Of Miami Sports Offers Hope / The Face Of Miami Sports in 2020: Our Top 20 And Who's No.1 / Time to Abort Season Restarts and Call Off Sports For Rest Of 2020 / Uh-oh. Cam Newton means Belichick and Patriots Are Back / Saving the National Anthem From Sporting-Event Extinction / Baseball Joins In With Restart Plan. But Is Sports Walking Into a Giant Mess? / Noose Left For NASCAR's Bubba Wallace's Only Grows Resolve to End Racial Hatred / and Team That Signs Kaepernick Will Be Champions Of the Street

Select columns from earlier in 2020: Amid Pandemic And Protests, 'America's Pastime' Is Letting American Down / Return Of Sports Promises Historic TV Smorgasbord / Homestead Is Test Lab As NASCAR Gradually Welcomes Back Fans / R.I.P. Kurt Thomas, an American Gymnastics Pioneer  / MLB Players Demanding More Millions, Right Now, Is A Bad Look / Amid a Pandemic, An Outrage in Alamance County / Welcome to Sports Without Fans, the New Normal / As NBA, MLB Plot Return, We Miss Them -- Yet Sports Have Never Seemed More Trivial / Anticipation of Relevance, Excitement Is Tua's Gift to Miami / Hall of Famer Andre Dawson On Baseball and Owning a Funeral Home Amid COVID-19 / Dolphins Aim High, Win Big With Tua Tagovailoa Pick / Greg Cote's 2020 NFL Mock Draft / Coronavirus, Tua Make This Dolphins' Weirdest, Most Interesting Draft Ever / NFL Draft Will Offer Blunt Verdict on Canes' Talent / Ultimate All-Time South Florida Major Sports Trivia Challenge / Sports Should Stop Pretending It Will Resume Anytime Soon As Coronovirus Rages / How a Longtime Herald Sport Writer Came to Own a Top Contender in Florida Derby / Time for NBA, NHL to Shut it Down, End Seasons / Le Batard Show Deals with Coronavirus-Related Upheaval / Brady Leaving Patriots for Tampa. Will Belichick Be Proved Right In Letting Him Go? / Miami Sports Now Utterly Engulfed By Coronavirus Threat -- But Precaution Is Justified / Inter Miami Is Market's Sleeping Giant As Home Opener Nears / Jeter Arrives At Camp, Calls Marlins 'Layered With Talent' / Dwyane Wade, His Transgender Daughter And A Lesson In Love / Time For Anonymous Lone Voter Who Denied Jeter To Step Forward / Heat And Gloriously Impatient Riley Win In Trade For Iguodala / Return Of Ed Reed, Even If Mostly Symbolic, Leads Surge By Canes Football / Kobe's Death Sends Sports World Reeling, But Immortality Is His / Jimmy Johnson's Biggest Triumph? Knowing When To Quit -- And Why / Announcing Miami Dolphins' 2010-19 All-Decade Team / and two-part series on how Dolphins' Glory Day happened: How One Man Long Forgotten Changed Everything For the Miami Dolphins and How Shula Made Dolphins Perfect and Made Miami Matter, And the Coach Today at 90 

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Revisit this blog often because it updates regularly. The Associated Press Sports Editors writing awards ranked the blog's author a Top 10 national sports columnist in the major-outlet category. Greg is also a regular on the Dan Le Batard Show With Stugotz on ESPN Radio. Finding Greg Cote: TwitterInstagramFacebookColumnsPodcastPodcast on TwitterPodcast on InstagramLeBatard Show. Book: Fins At 50. Songs: Letting Go (audio) and The Ballad Of 1440 (video).