November 12, 2019

Dolfan Satisfaction Meter: 70.9% following 16-12 upset win at Indianapolis; plus latest Hot Button Top 10, NFL Week 10 picks, Le Batard Countdown Clock & more

Vetday1) It's MONDAY, NOVEMBER 11. It is Veterans Day. Thank you, all who have served! 2) Scroll to our previous blogpost for results of latest Canesfan Satisfaction Meter postgame poll. They're a season high! 2) Check out our 'Fins At 50' book at Amazon. 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Canes wallop Louisville with CSM postgame poll, our UM football column, Shula Bowl, LSU-'Bama, NFL Week 10 picks, Le Batard Countdown Clock & more. 4) Join us on Twitter.com/gregcote. Also on Facebook and Instagram.

Newest column: Canes football program's pedigree, quantified: A new ESPN list has the Hurricanes having played in 11 of the greatest 150 games in college football history -- including four of the top six. That is the bar set by five national championships. That is the mountain Manny Daz and the current Canes are trying to climb. We caught up with the player who kicked open the door to the dynasty. To read that full column, visit The Player Who Started the Glory Days for Canes Football.

G9: DOLPHINS AT INDIANAPOLIS: WILL RED-HOT MIAMI TAKE COLTS LIGHTLY? (JUST KIDDING!): Original post: The Dolphins surf a one-game winning streak into Indianapolis for Sunday's 4:05 kickoff, and I am concerned the cocky 1-7 Fins risk overconfidence against the 5-3 Colts. Actually I hope to live to see the day when Miami might be so good again as to have any such concerns. Back to Miaindreality: Imagine going on a long car trip with a constipated dog that won’t stop barking. OK, the Dolphins travel about as successfully as that. Miami has lost 10 consecutive away games and 15 of the past 16, and it looks like more road-kill on Sunday. The Colts, 10 1/2-point favorites, have treated Andrew Luck’s sudden retirement like a mere bump in the road, with Jacoby Brissett seeming likely to play despite spraining a knee last week. Even if not, Brian Hoyer is an experienced, seen-everything veteran in the Ryan Fitzpatrick mold. No matter who’s pitching for the Nags, Marlon Mack could put up big numbers vs. Fins’ generous run defense. Nevertheless, I like Miami getting double-digit points. After an embarrassing string of blowout losses to start the season, the Dolphins have been increasingly competitive the past month-plus culminating with last week’s handling of the Jets. And Indy doesn’t blow anybody out. The Colts’ eight games have been decided by 35 total points, with no margin greater than seven, or one score. If Fitzpatrick plays as well as he did last week and Miami’s D forces a couple of turnovers, I could even see an outright upset here. But let’s not go crazy. Settle for close. Cote’s pick: IND 27-18. Visit Week 10 Gems for all of our latest picks. And watch for the new Dolfan Satisfaction Meter postgame poll online soon after Sundays game ends.

DOLFAN SATISFACTION METER: G9: 70.9%: Results are certified in the latest of the Miami Herald’s Dolfan Satisfaction Meter postgame polls, and they show 70.9 percent overall approval -- the combination of "very" and "somewhat" satisfied votes -- in the wake of Sunday's 16-12 victory at Indianapolis putting  DsmMiami’s season record at 2-7. In its 12th season, the DSM is a continuous weekly gauge of how Dolfans are feeling about the team and its direction. Right after each game I invite you to share your overall degree of satisfaction. Criteria for voting is your own, but I suggest fans consider the most recent game’s performance and caliber of opponent, season as a whole, direction the club is heading and your overall degree of optimism -- all in the context of reasonable expectations. Online voting determines the final result, which is final the morning after one full day of voting. In this case that was around 11 a.m. today/Tuesday.

2019 DSM game-by-game results

G1: 18.3% following 59-10 loss vs. Baltimore.

G2: 24.6% following 43-0 loss vs. New England.

G3: 27.5% following 31-6 loss at Dallas.

G4: 35.3% following 30-10 loss vs. L.A. Chargers.

G5: 53.5% following 17-16 loss vs. Washington.

G6: 55.2% following 31-21 loss at Buffalo.

G7: 28.8% following 27-14 loss at Pittsburgh.

G8: 76.4% following 26-18 victory vs. N.Y. Jets.

G9: 70.9% following 16-12 victory at Indianapolis.

Next poll: Nov. 17 following game vs. Buffalo.

HOT BUTTON TOP 10 (UPDATED): WHAT SOUTH FLORIDA SPORTS FANS ARE TALKING ABOUT: Our blog-exclusive weekend-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:

Hotbutton1. HURRICANES: UM rides Williams' arm past Louisville: Miami clobbered Louisville 52-27 Saturday at The Rock to get bowl-eligible at 6-4 -- with Jarren Williams scorching the Cardinals for a UM-record six touchdown passes. Canes have FIU next week at Marlins Park then close with Duke, a must-win for any shot at the ACC Coastal crown. The Georgia Tech loss still haunts, but UM will have shed that 0-2 start pretty nicely of it wins out.

2. DOLPHINS: Hot Fins (!) win at Indianapolis for second straight: The Dolphins are surfing a two-game winning streak with Sunday's 16-12 triumph at Indianapolis today, self esteem climbing while draft standing slips. Three teams now have worse records. Don't give up though. Long season. Lots of losing left to do.

3. HEAT: Waiters gummies drama clouds early season: Miami is 6-3 after losing at LeBron's Lakers Friday and is back in action vs. Detroit here Tuesday. But  it isn't the games fans are talking about. It's Dion Waiters needing medical attention on the recent road trip after reportedly ingesting THC-infused edible gummies and having a panic attack. Waiters faces team and/or league discipline. There is Heat Culture ... and then there's Dion.

4. NASCAR: Homestead's Championship Four is set!: Sunday's race in Phoenix determine the Championship Four drivers who will race for the NASCAR season title next Sunday at Homestead. Martin Truex and Kevin Harvick were already in, and Kyle Busch and Denny Hamlin join them -- Hamlin pushing out Joey Logano. Vrooom.

5. COLLEGE FOOTBALL: LSU, Minnesota top major weekend: No. 2 LSU's 46-41 thriller over No. 3 Alabama in Tuscaloosa and No. 17 Minnesota's 21-26 home upsets of No. 4 Penn State shook up the College Football Playoff picture on Saturday. As America enjoyed its favorite sight: Nick Saban, sad. And if that isn't enough upheaval, Ohio State defensive end Chase Young, a likely top-five draft pick, was suspended indefinitely over suspected 2018 NCAA rules violations.  

6. UM BASKETBALL: Canes men drop opener, women win: UM men fell at home to No. 5-ranked Louisville to open the season before handling FAU Friday night to get to 1-1. Meanwhile the higher-regarded, No. 18-ranked Canes women opened at home Sunday with an 83-68 cruise past Jackson State.

7. PANTHERS: Cats win at Rangers: Florida were at the New York Rangers Sunday trying to shed a two-game losing streak, and did, 6-5. Joel Quenneville's guys are now 8-9 around the season's one-fifth mark, once again lolling around the far edge of playoff contention and looking for a run.

8. SOCCER: Seattle wins MLS Cup!: It was Toronto at Seattle Sunday for the Major League Soccer (MLS Cup) championship, and a record crowd of 69,274 left happy with a 3-1 Sounders win for Seattle's second title in four years. We expect you in that game in one year, Inter Miami. No pressure.

9. MLB: Free agency on, GM meetings next: Nationals just won the Series, but baseball ain't done. Free agency is underway, and the GM meetings are Nov. 11-14. If your team is a spender, be excited. If you're a Marlins fan, chill out.

10. UFC: Loss sending Diaz into retirement?: Days after losing to Miami's Jorge Masvidal, Nate Diaz hinted in an Instagram post that he may be done fighting. Those who believe he actually is could meet in a Waffle House booth and have plenty of elbow room.  

Missing the HB10 cut: Forget the tree falling in the forest. If the Chargers moved to London, would anybody miss them? ..... Update: Countdown now 2,415 days (give or take) until Miami hosts its first match in soccer's 2026 World Cup.

PicksDOLPHINS-COLTS, GAME OF THE WEEK, BIG UPSETS: OUR NFL WEEK 10 PICKS: Off our record-setting 2018 season we've had a solid first half of our 29th year of NFL picks in the Miami Herald, including an 11-3 mark straight-up last week and 8-5-1 against the spread (led by Dolphins over Jets in our Upset of the Week; "Aawwk!"). Now here are our Week 10 picks, including Dolphins at Colts, Game of the Week (Seahawks-49ers), two sizable upsets and the rest. Please visit the motherlode of prognostication that I like to call NFL Week 10 Gems. Our week got off to a losing start Thursday. Already past it. Let's rally!

LE BATARD RETURNS TO AIR COUNTDOWN CLOCK: Because I think it has the potential to at least mildly annoy Dan (always a noble goal), we present our "Le Batard Returns To Air!" countdown clock. After an extended absence Dan is to finally rejoin the Dan Le Batard Show With Stugotz on ESPN Radio this coming Monday, Nov. 11, at 10 a.m. Here's the time remaining until the national appetite is sated by the long-awaited return of Dan's dulcet tones:

Our other most recent work: Canes Lose Hoops Opener, But It's Fans Who Disappoint and Enjoy The Win, Miami. Here's Why Fins Still in Great Shape For Top Pick. Also: After Mocking And Tank-Talk, Dolphins And Flores Deserved This Day / Le Batard On Return To Air, Latest Event / Do Not Waver, Dolphins. It Must Be Tua! / and Disgraced Ref Donaghy Opens Up About Game-Fix Scandal.

Other select recent columns: Why Is NBA Doing Business With Human Rights-Violating China In First Place? / Riley Introduces Butler -- 'Cause the Heat Don't Tank / Why Dolphins, Even Epic-Bad, May be Closer to Major Turnaround Than Canes / Turning Its Back on Kaepernick Enters Year 3 As NFL's Ongoing Shame / Quit Whining! Yes Dolphins Are Tanking, And Yes They Should / Dolphins' Ross Cannot Be Surprised By Major Fallout Over Trump Fundraiser / Le Batard on Miami Radio Turmoil: 'We Were Evicted' / Buoniconti: Hall of Famer, But Even Greater Off the Field / It Is Megan Rapinoe's World Cup -- On And Off The Field / An Era Ends As Panthers' Luongo Retires / O.J. Can Tweet What He Wants, But How He's Seen Is Not Up To Him / Inter Miami Aiming High With Barca's Suarez / End The Illogical Shame and Honor Schnellenberger / Why Tiger's Masters Triumph Is About More Than Golf / Transgender-Athlete Firestorm A Necessary Debate / Across the Rio Grande to the PGA Tour / From Dark and Empty to Top Of the World: Dan Le Batard at 50.

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

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

Twitter @gregcote

November 09, 2019

G10: Canesfan Satisfaction Meter: 95.1% (season high) after 52-27 rout of Louisville; plus the player who started the UM glory days (column), LSU-'Bama and FIU-FAU, NFL Week 10 picks, LeBatard-returns-to-air Countdown Clock & more

Bowden1) It's FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 8. Happy 90th birthday, Bobby Bowden! He hit the milestone Friday, and here's to many more for the FSU Seminoles living legend! 2) Check out our 'Fins At 50' book at Amazon. 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Canes lose basketball opener, Dolphins in great draft shape despite win, NFL Pix 'n Fantasy Week 9 results, Canes football among top 150 games & more. 4) Join us on Twitter.com/gregcote. Also on Facebook and Instagram.

Latest column: Canes football program's pedigree, quantified: In a new list the Hurricanes have played in 11 of the greatest 150 games in college football history -- including four of the top six. That is the bar set by five national championships. That is the mountain Manny Daz and the current Canes are trying to climb. We caught up with the player who kicked open the door to the dynasty. To read the full column, visit The Player Who Started the Glory Days for Canes Football.

LoumiaG10: @HURRICANES 52, LOUISVILLE 27: NO LETDOWN FOR CANES: Original post: Back home after the exhilarating 27-10 win over Florida State in Tallahassee, the Canes are at risk of a letdown in Saturday's 3:30 ACC meeting with Louisville at The Rock. Aside to Canes: At 5-4 you aren't good enough to take anybody lightly, especially a 5-3 Cardinals team against whom you are a somewhat modest 7-point home favorite. L'ville brings one of the most potent offenses Miami has yet faced, so Gregory Rousseau, Shaq Quarterman and friends better bring it on Senior Day, with bowl eligibility the reward for the winner. Two UM injuries of concern: Bubba Bolden lost for the season with a dumb ankle injury suffered celebrating an interception, and top tight end Brevin Jordan iffy to play. Miami's clear edges: The U's defense (at its best) is good enough to limit a good Cards attack, and, mostly, Louisville's defense is quite bad. Jarren Williams and crew should have a chance to go north of 30. Miami must win out and get some luck to still win the ACC Coastal. That starts here. Cote's pick: Hurricanes, 31-23. Watch for the latest Canesfan Satisfaction Meter postgame poll online right after today's game ends.

CANESFAN SATISFACTION METER: G10. 95.2%: Results are certified in the latest of the Miami Herald’s Canes Satisfaction Meter postgame polls, and they show a season-high 95.2 percent overall approval -- the combination of "very" and "somewhat" satisfied votes -- in the wake of Saturday's 52-27 home victory vs. Louisville  Csmputting the Hurricanes' season record at 6-4 overall and 4-3 in ACC conference play. The CSM is your invitation after every Hurricanes game to vote on your overall satisfaction with the team and season in a continuing weekly gauge of how UM football fans are feeling. Criteria for voting is your own, but I suggest you consider the most recent game’s performance and caliber of opponent, the season as a whole, the program’s direction and your overall degree of optimism -- all in the context of reasonable expectations. Online voting determines the weekly verdict, which is final the morning after one full day of voting. In this case that was around 9:15 a.m. today/Monday.

Canesfan Satisfaction Meter

G1: 64.1% following 24-20 loss vs. Florida in Orlando.

G2: 15.7% following 28-25 loss at North Carolina.

G3: 83.0% following 63-0 victory vs. Bethune-Cookman.

G4: 8.5% following 17-12 victory vs. Central Michigan.

G5: 28.8% following 42-35 loss vs. Virginia Tech.

G6: 82.0% following 17-9 victory vs. Virginia.

G7: 11.3% following 28-21 OT loss vs. Georgia Tech.

G8: 61.0% following 16-12 victory at Pitt.

G9: 91.8% following 27-10 victory at Florida State.

G10: 95.2% following 52-27 victory vs. Louisville.

Next poll: Nov. 23 following game vs. FIU.

FiufauShula Bowl: @FAU 37, FIU 7: Davis vs. Kiffin in C-USA rivalry: Original post: Butch Davis' 5-4 Panthers and Lane Kiffin's 6-3 Owls renew their rivalry with FAU 4-1 in league play and still angling to reach the Conference USA title game. Owls are big 10 1/2-point favorites and should raise the 18th annual Shula Bowl trophy for the third year in a row, but I like the Butchers to keep it inside the fat bet-line. Cote's pick: FAU, 27-23.

Other state FBS games: South Florida lost 17-7 to Temple on Thursday, and UCF lost 34-31 to Tulsa on Friday. Today/Saturday, No. 10 Florida whipped Vanderbilt 56-0, and Florida State won at Boston College 38-31.

LsualaBonus national pick: No. 2 LSU 46, @No. 3 Alabama 41: Original post: The Game of the Year (so far) is Saturday at 3:30 in Tuscaloosa. Both teams are 8-0, and the College Football Playoff and national championship picture sway with the result. (By the way, Trump is supposed to be at the game in a continuing effort to find a crowd that won't boo him). Crimson Tide are favored by 5 1/2, fueled by the home field edge and the sense 'Bama is just a little better beyond that. I agree. The wild card: Tide (and future Dolphins?) QB Tua Tagovailao, who is questionable with an ankle injury. Nick Saban calls it a game-time decision. My bet: Tua plays, but isn't 100 percent. On that basis: Cote's pick: Alabama, 31-27.

PicksDOLPHINS-COLTS, GAME OF THE WEEK, BIG UPSETS: OUR NFL WEEK 10 PICKS: Off our record-setting 2018 season we've had a solid first half of our 29th year of NFL picks in the Miami Herald, including an 11-3 mark straight-up last week and 8-5-1 against the spread (led by Dolphins over Jets in our Upset of the Week; "Aawwk!"). Now we offer our Week 10 picks,including Dolphins at Colts, our Game of the Week (Seahawks-49ers), two sizable upsets and all the rest. So please visit the motherlode of prognostication that I like to call our NFL Week 10 Gems. Unfortunately our week got off to a disappointing start last night. We had the Chargers (-1) winning in Oakland 23-10. And they were winning, 24-10, very late, visions of a near perfect-score win dancing in my head. Then the Raiders scored with a minute left. Damn. Already past it. Let's rally!

Our other most recent work: Canes Lose Hoops Opener, But It's Fans Who Disappoint and Enjoy The Win, Miami. Here's Why Fins Still in Great Shape For Top Pick. Also: After Mocking And Tank-Talk, Dolphins And Flores Deserved This Day / Le Batard On Return To Air, Latest Event / Do Not Waver, Dolphins. It Must Be Tua! / and Disgraced Ref Donaghy Opens Up About Game-Fix Scandal.

LE BATARD RETURNS TO AIR COUNTDOWN CLOCK: Because I think it has the potential to at least mildly annoy Dan (always a noble goal), we present our "Le Batard Returns To Air!" countdown clock. After an extended absence Dan is to finally rejoin the Dan Le Batard Show With Stugotz on ESPN Radio this coming Monday, Nov. 11, at 10 a.m. Here's the time remaining until the national appetite is sated by the long-awaited return of Dan's dulcet tones:

Other select recent columns: Why Is NBA Doing Business With Human Rights-Violating China In First Place? / Riley Introduces Butler -- 'Cause the Heat Don't Tank / Why Dolphins, Even Epic-Bad, May be Closer to Major Turnaround Than Canes / Turning Its Back on Kaepernick Enters Year 3 As NFL's Ongoing Shame / Quit Whining! Yes Dolphins Are Tanking, And Yes They Should / Dolphins' Ross Cannot Be Surprised By Major Fallout Over Trump Fundraiser / Le Batard on Miami Radio Turmoil: 'We Were Evicted' / Buoniconti: Hall of Famer, But Even Greater Off the Field / It Is Megan Rapinoe's World Cup -- On And Off The Field / An Era Ends As Panthers' Luongo Retires / O.J. Can Tweet What He Wants, But How He's Seen Is Not Up To Him / Inter Miami Aiming High With Barca's Suarez / End The Illogical Shame and Honor Schnellenberger / Why Tiger's Masters Triumph Is About More Than Golf / Transgender-Athlete Firestorm A Necessary Debate / Across the Rio Grande to the PGA Tour / From Dark and Empty to Top Of the World: Dan Le Batard at 50.

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

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

Twitter @gregcote

November 01, 2019

New! Our NFL Week 9 picks for Dolphins-Jets, upsets and all the rest; plus Radio Friday!, our Fins/Tua and Tim Donaghy columns & more

Halloween1) It's FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 1. Hope ya'll had a Happy Halloween! Oh and welcome November! 2) Condolences on the passing this week of the great former University of Miami athletic director Sam Jankovich, who died at 84. I knew Sam very well in the 1980s. He was a good man and a good AD. 3) Check out our 'Fins At 50' book at Amazon. 4) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Dolphins must stayed focused on Tua, Fins lose in Pittsburgh with DSM poll, NFL Pix 'n Fantasy Week 8 results & more. 5) Join us on Twitter.com/gregcote. Also on Facebook and Instagram.

It's Radio Friday!: Double duty this week. I'm back in-studio today on the Dan Le Batard Show With Stugotz. It airs 10 to 1 nationally on ESPN Radio and ESPNews. And watch for a local-only hour linked from the show's social media platforms.

PicksDOLPHINS-JETS, GAME OF THE WEEK, UPSETS: OUR NFL WEEK 9 PICKS: Off our record-setting 2018 season and a solid first half of our 29th year of NFL picks in the Miami Herald, here are our latest selections. We went a perfect 15-0 straight-up last week and a tough 7-8 against spread despite hitting on two outright upset picks. This week, will the still-winless Dolphins win at home vs. the equally bad Stinkin' Jets? What about our Patriots-Ravens Game of the Week? And our three new upset picks? Answers to all of that and more may be found in the motherlode of prognostication that is our NFL Week 9 Gems. We can't top 15-0, but we can try. Got off to a mixed start last night. Had Niners beating Cardinals and also covering. They won, but didn't cover. You let me down, San Fran D.

TuaEyes on the prize! Why Dolphins must remain steadfast for Tua: We’ve been reading and hearing it from South Florida media to the talking heads on Monday's Dolphins-Steelers telecast. The what-if game on the 2020 NFL Draft. The notion that whomever ends up with the No. 1 pick next spring — including the favorite, Miami — dare not pass on the draft’s hot new shiny object, Ohio State’ havoc-wreaking pass rusher Chase Young. No! Let's hope this is a false narrative floated purely for the sake of argument. Because, at least in the Dolphins’ case, it is an absurd supposition that Miami should or might bypass the franchise arm for anybody else The whole point of this season, this exquisitely orchestrated tanking, is to wind up with Tua Tagovailoa. The full column: Do Not Waver, Dolphins. It Must Be Tua!

IgameDisgraced ref Tim Donaghy talks game-fixing: He was at the center of one of NBA's major scandals of the 2000s. A movie about it is out this week. We spoke with the villain himself. The fiull column: Disgraced Ref Donaghy Opens Up About Game-Fix Scandal. The movie preview: Inside Game Trailer.

Our most recent other columns: Heat's Opener Stars Butler As Missing Person, Winslow As Rising Star / Heat 'Tighten the Screws,' And Dion Waiters Is the Lesson, As New Season Begins / Diaz Playing 'Rebuild' Card As Weak as Canes' Effort in Loss to Ga-Tech / LeBron Follows Company Line On China After Career Devoted to Social Justice / Now Or Never For Panthers To Stop Wasting The Barkov Years.

Previous other select columns: Why Is NBA Doing Business With Human Rights-Violating China In First Place? / 'Culture' Isn't Enough. It'll Take These 5 Factors to Lift Miami Heat / Riley Introduces Butler -- 'Cause the Heat Don't Tank / Why Dolphins, Even Epic-Bad, May be Closer to Major Turnaround Than Canes / Turning Its Back on Kaepernick Enters Year 3 As NFL's Ongoing Shame / Worst Miami Team Ever? Epic Losing Already Making Dolphins A National Joke / Quit Whining! Yes Dolphins Are Tanking, And Yes They Should / Dolphins' Ross Cannot Be Surprised By Major Fallout Over Trump Fundraiser / Le Batard on Miami Radio Turmoil: 'We Were Evicted' / Buoniconti: Hall of Famer, But Even Greater Off the Field / It Is Megan Rapinoe's World Cup -- On And Off The Field / An Era Ends As Panthers' Luongo Retires / O.J. Can Tweet What He Wants, But How He's Seen Is Not Up To Him / Ranking Dolphins, Heat, Marlins & Panthers' Best Young Players / Inter Miami Aiming High With Barca's Suarez / End The Illogical Shame and Honor Schnellenberger / Oh To Be Hated Again! Lean Times For Miami Sports / Why Tiger's Masters Triumph Is About More Than Golf / Transgender-Athlete Firestorm A Necessary Debate / Across the Rio Grande to the PGA Tour / From Dark and Empty to Top Of the World: Dan Le Batard at 50.

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

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

Twitter @gregcote

October 13, 2019

Canesfan Satisfaction Meter: 82.0% following 17-9 win over No. 20 Virginia. With my game column; plus our NFL Week 6 picks, Gators-LSU, NBA-China mess, Fins-Skins Winless Bowl & more

1) It's SATURDAY OCTOBER 12. Check out our 'Fins At 50' book at Amazon. 2) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): NBA should end China ties with column, NFL Pix 'n Fantasy Week 5 results, why Dolphins-Redskins isn't must-lose for Miami & more. 3) Join us on Twitter.com/gregcote. Also on Facebook and Instagram.

Column from last night's Canes win over Virginia: For my column from the stadium on UM's 17-9 win over No. 20 Virginia, please visit Hurricanes Finally Get Quality Win -- And The Spark They Needed.

Our most recent other columns: Why Is NBA Doing Business With Human Rights-Violating China In First Place? and Why Woeful Dolphins-Redskins Matchup Is Not Must-Lose For Miami. Also: Now Or Never For Panthers To Stop Wasting The Barkov Years (as NHL season unfurled) / and 'Culture' Isn't Enough. It'll Take These 5 Factors to Lift Miami Heat (as team entered preseason).

G6: HURRICANES 17, NO. 20 VIRGINIA 9: DEFENSES RISES AS UM SAVES ITS SEASON: Please visit Hurricanes Finally Get Quality Win -- And The Spark They Neededfor my game column from the stadium. Original post: Canes are a depressing 2-3 (0-2 in ACC play) after last week's home loss to Virginia Tech -- against whom UM had been favored by 14 points coming off a bye week. Miami still is searching for its first quality win, considering the two W's have been a walkover rout of outmanned VamiaBethune-Cookman and a 17-12 escape against Central Michigan. Tonight comes the latest chance for that elusive quality win as Miami hosts 4-1 (2-0 ACC) and 20th-ranked Virginia in an ACC Coastal game. A bit surprisingly, Miami is a 2 1/2-point betting favorite and given a 59.4 percent chance of winning via ESPN's Football Power Index. There seems to be a continuing overestimation of the Canes based on what we have seen through five games, especially lately. Anyway, two big changes this week for The U: 1) N'Kosi Perry starts tonight at quarterback for injured Jarren Williams. The dropoff (or perhaps improvement?) figures as slight. 2) Coach Manny Diaz declared he'll be more hands-on with a defense that has disappointed including that 42-point spree by Va-Tech. Diaz of course was defensive coordinator here the previous three seasons, and said this week, "Ultimately I am responsible for how we play on defense. There is a culture that was created here back in 2016 that, for some reason, we have not been able to recreate. It is not a coaching issue. It is not a scheme issue." The onus on Miami tonight is with the offense more than the D, by my view. Perry must mind his dubious accuracy and be careful with a very strong Cavaliers pass defense. And a bad, Achilles heel of a UM offensive line needs to give Perry time vs. a defense averaging 4 1/2 sacks per game. This is a lot to ask. I'm off the Canes bandwagon until they give me a reason to re-board. Cote's pick: Virginia, 23-17.

CsmCANESFAN SATISFACTION METER: G6: 82.0%: Results are certified in the latest of the Miami Herald’s Canesfan Satisfaction Meter postgame polls, and they show 82.0 percent overall approval -- the combination of "very" and "somewhat" satisfied votes -- in the wake of Friday night's 17-9 home win vs. No. 20 Virginia putting the Hurricanes' season record at 3-3 overall and 1-2 in ACC conference play. That narrowly misses being a season high. The CSM is your invitation after every Hurricanes game to vote on your overall satisfaction with the team and season in a continuing weekly gauge of how UM football fans are feeling. Criteria for voting is your own, but I suggest you consider the most recent game’s performance and caliber of opponent, the season as a whole, the program’s direction and your overall degree of optimism -- all in the context of reasonable expectations. Online voting determines the weekly verdict, which is final the morning after one full day of voting. In this case that was at 9:30 a.m. today/Sunday.

2019 Canesfan Satisfaction Meter

G1: 64.1% following 24-20 loss vs. Florida in Orlando.

G2: 15.7% following 28-25 loss at North Carolina.

G3: 83.0% following 63-0 victory vs. Bethune-Cookman.

G4: 8.5% following 17-12 victory vs. Central Michigan.

G5: 28.8% following 42-35 loss vs. Virginia Tech.

G6: 82.0% following 17-9 victory vs. Virginia.

Next poll: Oct. 19 vs. Georgia Tech.

FlalsuNo. 5 LSU 42, No. 7 Gators 28: Original post: ESPN College  GameDay may be at USC-Notre Dame, but this is the Game of the Week in college football -- the only top-10 matchup, with the winner allowed to think College Football Playoff. The 6-0 Gators earned cred in beating then-No. 7 Auburn last week, but 5-0 LSU is a big 13 1/2-point favorite in what figures as a high-scoring game Saturday at 8 p.m. Tough to not pick Tigers at home, but that bet-line really disses Florida. Cote's pick: LSU, 31-24.  

Other state FBS games (all Saturday): FSU got clobbered by No. 2 Clemson 45-14; South Florida edged BYU 27-23; FAU beat Middle Tennessee 28-13; and FIU handled Charlotte 48-23. UCF is off.

PicksDOLPHINS WIN! YAY! I MEAN OH NO! (WHAT?)  OUR NFL WEEK 6 PICKS: Off our record-setting 2018 season and a solid start to our 29th year of NFL picks in the Miami Herald, here are our latest selections. Spoiler alert: The Dolphins beat the Redskins in the battle of beatens, the Winless Bowl. Yes I said it. The Dolphins win a game! Followed inevitably of course by Dolfans debating whether that's a good thing or whether that puts the Tanking For Tua initiative at risk. See how on earth Miami will win, our Game of the Week call, our four big upset picks and all the rest by visiting Week 6 Gems. Got off to a good start to our week last night, as we correctly had the Patriots not only beating the Giants but also covering the 16 1/2-point betting line. (Go here for that pick).

Previous select recent columns: Riley Introduces Butler -- 'Cause the Heat Don't Tank / Dolfans, Here Is Your Escape To The Glory Days / Why Dolphins, Even Epic-Bad, May be Closer to Major Turnaround Than Canes / Turning Its Back on Kaepernick Enters Year 3 As NFL's Ongoing Shame / Worst Miami Team Ever? Epic Losing Already Making Dolphins A National Joke / Quit Whining! Yes Dolphins Are Tanking, And Yes They Should / It's Up to Today's Dolphins to Defend Shula's Legacy / Who's Super Bowl-Bound And Where Dolphins Land (preseason NFL Team Rankings) / Luck Deserves Praise For Putting Health, Life Above Football / Dolphins' Ross Cannot Be Surprised By Major Fallout Over Trump Fundraiser / Le Batard on Miami Radio Turmoil: 'We Were Evicted' / Buoniconti: Hall of Famer, But Even Greater Off the Field / Queens of the World. U.S. Soccer Wins Again / New-look Panthers: Lots Of Hope, Zero Excuses Left / It Is Megan Rapinoe's World Cup -- On And Off The Field / An Era Ends As Panthers' Luongo Retires / O.J. Can Tweet What He Wants, But How He's Seen Is Not Up To Him / Ranking Dolphins, Heat, Marlins & Panthers' Best Young Players / Inter Miami Aiming High With Barca's Suarez / End The Illogical Shame and Honor Schnellenberger / Oh To Be Hated Again! Lean Times For Miami Sports / Why Tiger's Masters Triumph Is About More Than Golf / Transgender-Athlete Firestorm A Necessary Debate / Across the Rio Grande to the PGA Tour / From Dark and Empty to Top Of the World: Dan Le Batard at 50.

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

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

Twitter @gregcote

September 27, 2019

New! Our NFL Week 4 picks are in!; plus Dolfans' escape from this season to the glory days, and why epic-bad Fins might still be better-positioned than Canes for major turnaround; also, NFL Week 3 Pix 'n Fantasy results & more

1) It's FRIDAY SEPTEMBER 27. Check out our 'Fins At 50' book at Amazon. 2) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Dolphins fall in Dallas with DSM poll, Canes eke past Central Michigan with CSM poll, Hot Button Top & more. 3) Join us on Twitter.com/gregcote. Also on Facebook and Instagram.

Latest Herald NFL Week 3 QB Rankings: One man is running away with this thing as we enter Week 4. Visit Herald Week 3 NFL QB Rankings to find out who.

PicksNEW! OUR NFL WEEK 4 PICKS ARE IN!: Off our record-setting 2018 season and a hot Week 3 in our 29th year of NFL picks in the Miami Herald, here are our new Week 4 selections. Will the Dolphins finally cover a spread by staying (reasonably) close against the Chargers on Sunday? Find out that, our Game of the Week, our upset picks and all the rest by visiting Week 4 Gems now. Our picks appear online Thursday afternoons every week, and Fridays in print. (Our Thursday Night Football pick appears Wednesdays online and Thursdays in print). Beginning this week subscribers get an early look at our Week 4 picks, ahead of non-subscribers. So sign in or sign up! Our week got off to a rocky start Thursday night with a misfire on Eagles-Packers. The Green Bay defense let us down majorly. It's OK. Sally forth!

CAN HISTORYMIAMI MUSEUM'S FOOTBALL CELEBRATION HELP US FORGET TODAY'S DOLPHINS?: The Miami Dolphins are having a season most fans would rather forget. The rebuilding team has lost its first three games by scores of 59-10, 43-0 and 31-6. It is historic ineptitude. The worst start in the franchise’s 54 seasons. So what better time to escape to Hismiabetter days! To relive old glories. To snuggle into the past, when Don Shula still roamed the sideline, Dan Marino snapped passes and Jason Taylor was sacking the other quarterback. You won’t find any of that at Hard Rock Stadium these days. But you will find it in Miami. HistoryMiami Museum is celebrating 100 years of the NFL, with a big nod to the halcyon days of the hometown Dolphins, in a major new exhibit called "Gridiron Glory: The Best Of the Pro Football Hall Of Fame." It opens this Saturday, Sept. 28 and runs through Feb. 9, closing one week after the Super Bowl that Miami is hosting. Tickets are $8 to $10. To purchase tickets visit the museum at 101 W. Flagler Street in downtown Miami, or online at historymiami.org. For our full story including what you'll see in the 8,000-square-foot exhibit, visit Dolfans, Here Is Your Escape To The Glory Days.

Flores DiazDOLPHINS ARE EPIC-BAD --  BUT STILL MIGHT BE BETTER-POSITIONED THAN CANES. LATEST COLUMN: What we have here with Miami football in 2019 is not unprecedented, but very rare. I wondered when was the last time the Miami Dolphins and Miami Hurricanes had simultaneously stumbled into their seasons like this — the Fins 0-3 and UM 2-2. Turns out this is only the fourth such occurrence in 54 combined years. It happened in 2011, the season that got Tony Sparano fired and welcomed Al Golden to town. Other than that it only happened in 1966 and ‘69, when the pre-Don Shula Dolphins of George Wilson had the excuse of being an expansion team and the Canes were spinning wheels with Charlie Tate. A half century later, welcome to your dream jobs, rookie head coaches Brian Flores and Manny Diaz! No honeymoons for you. Just hard times, fast. That is the intro to my latest column, in which I explore the state of the Fins and Canes and posit why currently woeful Dolphins may be better-positioned than UM over the next few years to be nationally relevant again. [Diaz and Flores are pictured, left to right]. To read the full column kindly visit Why Dolphins, Even Epic-Bad, May be Closer to Major Turnaround Than Canes.

Kaepernick, other most recent columns: Turning Its Back on Kaepernick Enters Year 3 As NFL's Ongoing Shame. Also: Worst Miami Team Ever? Epic Losing Already Making Dolphins A National Joke / Quit Whining! Yes Dolphins Are Tanking, And Yes They Should / and It's Up to Today's Dolphins to Defend Shula's Legacy.

Picks LoboslogoNFL PIX 'N FANTASY RESULTS: WEEK 3: NFL picks--Strong. Went 12-4 overall and 10-5-1 against the spread -- numbers I'll take any week, thank you. That included bull's-eyeing our Upset of the Week pick with Giants winning at Buccaneers, and another outright upset with Jaguars beating Titans. LeBatard Show fantasy--Yes again! Greg's Lobos, now 2-1, defeated Guillermo (a.k.a Billy) by 144-128 -- our score the highest for the week of the league's 16 teams. Rodee the Mike Evans train for 45 and also got 34 from Patrick Mahomes and a big 23 from Shady McCoy. Friends n' family fantasy--No! Lobos dropped to 1-2 with a tough 103-100 loss to Christopher. That, despite Deshaun Watson and Dalvin Cook giving me 51 combined. Worse, I just lost Saquon Barkley for a big chunk of season.

Other select recent columns: The Dolphins aren't awful. They're worse than that / Trading Tunsil Hurts, But Dolphins Won This Deal / Who's Super Bowl-Bound And Where Dolphins Land (NFL Team Rankings) / Luck Deserves Praise For Putting Health, Life Above Football / Hurricanes Have Only Themselves To Blame For Opening Loss / Dolphins' Ross Cannot Be Surprised By Major Fallout Over Trump Fundraiser / Le Batard on Miami Radio Turmoil: 'We Were Evicted' / Buoniconti: Hall of Famer, But Even Greater Off the Field / The 4 Ways Miami Heat Had A Winning Offseason / Wimbledon, Tiger, U.S. Women For Starters. Why 2019 Is Greatest Sports Year Ever / Queens of the World. U.S. Soccer Wins Again / Bold Moves To Get Jimmy Butler Make Heat -- And Pat Riley -- Relevant Again / New-look Panthers: Lots Of Hope, Zero Excuses Left / It Is Megan Rapinoe's World Cup -- On And Off The Field / An Era Ends As Panthers' Luongo Retires / O.J. Can Tweet What He Wants, But How He's Seen Is Not Up To Him / Ranking Dolphins, Heat, Marlins & Panthers' Best Young Players / Inter Miami Aiming High With Barca's Suarez / End The Illogical Shame and Honor Schnellenberger / Oh To Be Hated Again! Lean Times For Miami Sports / Why Tiger's Masters Triumph Is About More Than Golf / Transgender-Athlete Firestorm A Necessary Debate / Across the Rio Grande to the PGA Tour / From Dark and Empty to Top Of the World: Dan Le Batard at 50 / And, our Dwyane Wade Farewell Trilogy: The Last Star: Post-Wade, Miami Sports Is BereftWade Fittingly Goes Out A Winner And 30-point Star; and Thank You, Dwyane Wade, Miami's G.O.A.T.

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

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

Twitter @gregcote

September 19, 2019

QBs keep falling, yet NFL's shameful blackballing of Kaepernick enters Year 3. Latest column; plus NFL Week 3 picks for Dolphins-Cowboys and the rest, tonight's Titans-Jaguars pick & more

1) It's THURSDAY SEPTEMBER 19. Check out our 'Fins At 50' book at Amazon. 2) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Laughingstock Dolphins worst team ever?, NFL Week 2 Pix 'n Fantasy results, my weekend in New York City & more. 3) Join us on Twitter.com/gregcote. Also on Facebook and Instagram.

Herald Week 2 NFL QB Rankings: There's a new overall No. 1 for the season. Who it is should surprise nobody. Visit Herald Week 2 NFL QB Rankings.

PicksNEW! OUR NFL WEEK 3 PICKS ARE IN!: Off our record-setting 2018 season we're back for our 29th year of NFL picks in the Miami Herald, and here are our Week 3 selections. Will the Dolphins cover that gargantuan 21 1/2-point line at Dallas Sunday or get blown out yet again? Find out that, our Game of the Week, our upset picks and all the rest by visiting Week 3 Gems now. Our picks appear online Thursday afternoons every week, and Fridays in print. (Our Thursday Night Football pick appears Wednesdays online and Thursdays in print. Visit Week 3 Thursday Gem for tonight's Titans-Jaguars pick). We are inexplicably coming off our best season ever, with a .705 winning percentage overall last year and .582 against the point spread. It's been tougher so far in '19, but, early days!

QBS KEEP FALLING, AND NFL'S SHAMEFUL BLACKBALLING OF COLIN KAEPERNICK ENTERS YEAR 3. NEW COLUMNThe NFL has never tried harder to baby its precious quarterbacks with Colinklegislated protection. Even the sack itself is now penalized unless it is sort of paradoxically gentle, with the defender not permitted to land with his full weight upon the poor QB, the wide-eyed fawn trying to survive the mean jungle. Yet we have just set out on what already is a calamitous season for the most fragile, important position. Andrew Luck abruptly retires from the collective weight of too many injuries. Pittsburgh’s Ben Roethlisberger is injured Sunday and out for the season. New Orleans’ Drew Brees is hurt the same day and out at least six weeks. Would-be Jacksonville savior Nick Foles is injured in the season opener and done until at least November. Aging Eli Manning is benched by the Giants. The Jets’ Sam Darnold (in the most Jets thing ever) is lost indefinitely with mononucleosis. Now Carolina’s Cam Newton seems injured. Again. The increasing reality is that teams need two quality quarterbacks, not just one. And yet Colin Kaepernick cannot find a job. Darnold’s replacement, Trevor Siemian, also gets injured and is lost for the year, so the Jets are down to third-stringer Luke Falk. The Miami Dolphins can’t decide who’s the least bad between Ryan Fitzpatrick and Josh Rosen. The Eagles backup is the relentlessly recycled Josh McCown. The Jaguars are now starting somebody named "Gardner Minshew." And, still, Kaepernick can’t get a job. This the intro to my latest column. This story is a continuing shame more relevant than ever this early season, and the NFL should not be let off the hook. For the full column, visit Turning Its Back on Kaepernick Enters Year 3 As NFL's Ongoing Shame.

Other most recent work: Worst Miami Team Ever? Epic Losing Already Making Dolphins A National Joke / Also: Quit Whining! Yes Dolphins Are Tanking, And Yes They Should / It's Up to Today's Dolphins to Defend Shula's Legacy / and The Dolphins aren't awful. They're worse than that (game column from opening loss).

Other select recent columns: Trading Tunsil Hurts, But Dolphins Won This Deal / Who's Super Bowl-Bound And Where Dolphins Land (NFL Team Rankings) / Luck Deserves Praise For Putting Health, Life Above Football / Hurricanes Have Only Themselves To Blame For Opening Loss / Dolphins' Ross Cannot Be Surprised By Major Fallout Over Trump Fundraiser / Le Batard on Miami Radio Turmoil: 'We Were Evicted' / Buoniconti: Hall of Famer, But Even Greater Off the Field / The 4 Ways Miami Heat Had A Winning Offseason / Wimbledon, Tiger, U.S. Women For Starters. Why 2019 Is Greatest Sports Year Ever / Queens of the World. U.S. Soccer Wins Again / Bold Moves To Get Jimmy Butler Make Heat -- And Pat Riley -- Relevant Again / New-look Panthers: Lots Of Hope, Zero Excuses Left / It Is Megan Rapinoe's World Cup -- On And Off The Field / An Era Ends As Panthers' Luongo Retires / Drip Or Swag, Herro Brings It, And Heat Need It / O.J. Can Tweet What He Wants, But How He's Seen Is Not Up To Him / Ranking Dolphins, Heat, Marlins & Panthers' Best Young Players / Inter Miami Aiming High With Barca's Suarez / End The Illogical Shame and Honor Schnellenberger / Oh To Be Hated Again! Lean Times For Miami Sports / Why Tiger's Masters Triumph Is About More Than Golf / Transgender-Athlete Firestorm A Necessary Debate / Across the Rio Grande to the PGA Tour / From Dark and Empty to Top Of the World: Dan Le Batard at 50 / And, our Dwyane Wade Farewell Trilogy: The Last Star: Post-Wade, Miami Sports Is BereftWade Fittingly Goes Out A Winner And 30-point Star; and Thank You, Dwyane Wade, Miami's G.O.A.T.

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

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

Twitter @gregcote

September 07, 2019

Canesfan Satisfaction Meter: 15.7%. Approval plummets with 28-25 loss at North Carolina in ACC opener. Vote now!; plus our NFL Week 1 picks, your verdict on my fantasy team, Le Batard Show fantasy draft & more

1) It's SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 7. It's the perfect time to check out my 'Fins At 50' book at Amazon. 2) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Dolphins trade Tunsil in blockbuster deal, Hot Button Top 10 & more. 3) Join us on Twitter.com/gregcote. Also on Facebook and Instagram.

CsmCANESFAN SATISFACTION METER: G2: 15.7%: Results are certified in the latest of the Miami Herald's Canesfan Satisfaction Meter postgame polls, and they show 15.7 percent overall satisfaction -- the combination of "very" and "somewhat" satisfied votes -- in the wake of Saturday night's 28-25 loss at North Carolina in Miami's ACC opener, putting UM's season record at 0-2 overall and 0-1 in conference play. The CSM is your invitation after every Hurricanes game to vote on your overall satisfaction with the team and season in a continuing weekly gauge of how UM football fans are feeling. Criteria for voting is your own, but I suggest you consider the most recent game's performance and caliber of opponent, the season as a whole, the program's direction and your overall degree of optimism -- all in the context of reasonable expectations. You may vote here in the blog, elsewhere online, and also at Twitter.com/gregcote (where the approval was 18%). Online/blog voting determine the weekly verdict, which is announced here the morning after one full day of voting. In this case that was around 9:30 a.m. today/Monday.

2019 Canesfan Satisfaction Meter

G1: 64.1% following 24-20 loss vs. Florida in Orlando.

G2: 15.7% following 28-25 loss at North Carolina.

Next poll: Sept. 14 following game vs. Bethune-Cookman.

UmuncG2: HURRICANES @ NORTH CAROLINA: PRESSURE ON CANES TO SEAL ROAD WIN IN ACC OPENER: It's one thing to fall narrowly to a top-10 Florida in a a neutral-site opener. It would be quite another to be a road favorite at North Carolina in your ACC opener and lose again. Losing to the Gators stung, but Mdiazlosing this one would make it feel like a season of high hopes had gone completely off the rails two games in. That is why more pressure is on Miami now than there was in the ballyhooed opener. That makes tonight/Saturday at 8 in Chapel Hill as close to a must-win as you could want in early September, especially for coach Manny Diaz and quarterback Jarren Williams. The Canes in general must look sharper, readier, after slopping through 14 penalties for 118 yards against UF and allowing 10 sacks. The betting line opened with Miami favored by 6 points but dove to 3 1/2 before settling back up at 5, the movement indicative of a betting public still unsure what to make of the Canes. UM crushed UNC 47-10 last year in the midst of a 2-9 Tar Heels season. This won't be as easy, with ESPN's Football Power Index putting Miami's win-likelihood at a modest 63.1 percent. I like UM tonight without much reservation. Coming off a bye after the early Aug. 24 opener, The U should ride defensive domination to a comfy if not quite rout-y win. Interesting side note: Mack Brown begins his second coaching stint with the Heels. He's best known as the Texas head coach in 1998-2013, where one of his proteges was defensive coordinator Manny Diaz. Diaz worked under Brown three seasons before being abruptly fired in '13. That checks one more box for why Diaz wants this win like a big dog wants that meaty bone. Diaz is pictured left using index fingers to signal the won-lost record Miami absolutely must have coming out of this game. Cote's pick: Hurricanes 27, North Carolina 16.

Picks RavenIT'S UPSET BIRD WEEK IN AMERICA! OUR NFL WEEK 1 PICKS: Off our record-setting 2018 season, we begin our 29th year of NFL picks in the Miami Herald by today revealing our 2019 Week 1 selections for Dolphins-Ravens, Game of the Week, Upset of the Week and all the rest. Could Miami actually be among my three big upset picks? To find out please visit Week 1 Gems. Our picks appear Thursday afternoons every week, and Fridays in print. (Our Thursday Night Football pick appears Wednesdays online and Thursdays in print. Visit Week 1 Thursday Gem for last night's Packers-Bears pick, a misfire by us, alas). We are inexplicably coming off our best season ever, with a .705 winning percentage overall last year and .582 against the point spread. Pictured: Our "How the Darts Landed" picks logo, and a charcoal rendering of the Upset Bird, the mysterious, never-photographed Corvus corax who serves as our prognosticatory sidekick and seer on all upset picks. 

Our most recent columns: Trading Tunsil Hurts, But Dolphins Won This Deal / Who's Super Bowl-Bound And Where Dolphins Land (NFL Team Rankings) / Diaz's Choice For Hurricanes QB Not Seen In More Than 50 Years / Luck Deserves Praise For Putting Health, Life Above Football / Hurricanes Have Only Themselves To Blame For Opening Loss / Dolphins' Ross Cannot Be Surprised By Major Fallout Over Trump Fundraiser / Le Batard on Miami Radio Turmoil: 'We Were Evicted' / Buoniconti: Hall of Famer, But Even Greater Off the Field.

FANTASY VOTES ARE IN AND YOU LOVED MY TEAM MOST! (NO, SERIOUSLY): Had our PFPI Fantasy friends 'n family league draft earlier this week, a 10-team PPR league that had a snake draft. The exact order was shown in a blind poll, and we invited you to vote which team you would most like to have based on each team's first five picks. Almost 800 votes had been cast when we closed it off this morning. Your results, with each team's first pick shown:

FfTeam 1: Saquon Barkley -- 25.91%. That's my team! Thanks for the support. Hope y'all are right!

Team 7: DeAndre Hopkins -- 16.84%. That's Michael, my youngest son.

Team 3: Alvin Kamara -- 13.73%. That's Brandon, a friend.

Team 4: Ezekiel Elliott -- 9.46%. That's Alex, a friend. (This vote total spiked after Zeke finally signed).

Team 2: Christian McCaffrey -- 8.94%. That's Joe, a nephew.

Team 9: David Johnson -- 6.61%. That's Earleen, my wife. Tied with below.

Team 10: Patrick Mahomes -- 6.61%. That's Dick, my brother. Tied with above.

Team 5: Tyreek Hill -- 5.05%. That's Christopher, my oldest son, from the Le Batard Show. Ouch.

Team 8: Travis Kelce -- 4.66%. That's Christie, my daughter-in-law, Chris' wife.

Team 6: Le'Veon Bell -- 2.20%. That's Cori, Christie's sister. Sorry, Cori. Exceed expectations!

GlobosLe Batard Show draft: We had our Le Batard Show "League of Lobos" draft last evening and it was a clusterf---, to be honest. There are too many teams (18), too many fraud-teams were auto-drafting, and inexplicably the draft order changed minutes before the draft, with me dropping from the 11th pick to the 16th. I got Patrick Mahomes 16th and Mike Evans after that, but this season could be a struggle. We'll have weekly updates on-air and in this space, so stay tuned. #WeAreTheLobos

Select other recent columns: Zero Doubt: Rosen, Not Fitzpatrick, Must Start For Dolphins / Here's Why Canes Took Bold Gamble on Jarren Williams at QB / How Brian Flores Won Dolphins Players' Respect Before Ever Coaching A Game / In Tyreek Hill, Goodell And NFL Turn Blind Eye To Domestic Violence / Le Batard Defies Trump, ESPN's No-Politics Policy / The 4 Ways Miami Heat Had A Winning Offseason / What If Everybody's Wrong About The Dolphins? / Wimbledon, Tiger, U.S. Women For Starters. Why 2019 Is Greatest Sports Year Ever / Heat And Riley Lose On Westbrook, But Loss Might Still Be A Win / Coco's Wimbledon Runs Ends, But U.S. Tennis Just Found Its Next Big Thing / Queens of the World. U.S. Soccer Wins Again / Bold Moves To Get Jimmy Butler Make Heat -- And Pat Riley -- Relevant Again / New-look Panthers: Lots Of Hope, Zero Excuses Left / It Is Megan Rapinoe's World Cup -- On And Off The Field / An Era Ends As Panthers' Luongo Retires / Heat's Haslem Doesn't Need Us Telling Him Whether To Retire / Drip Or Swag, Herro Brings It, And Heat Need It / O.J. Can Tweet What He Wants, But How He's Seen Is Not Up To Him / Ranking Dolphins, Heat, Marlins & Panthers' Best Young Players / Heat Must Dump Bad Contracts Starting With Whiteside, Dragic /Inter Miami Aiming High With Barca's Suarez / For Marlins, An Encouraging Two Weeks Is Progress / End The Illogical Shame and Honor Schnellenberger / Dolphins Land Big Prize in Wilkins / Oh To Be Hated Again! Lean Times For Miami Sports / Why Tiger's Masters Triumph Is About More Than Golf / Case For Kaepernick's Comeback As A Dolphin / Transgender-Athlete Firestorm A Necessary Debate / Across the Rio Grande to the PGA Tour / From Dark and Empty to Top Of the World: Dan Le Batard at 50 / And, our Dwyane Wade Farewell Trilogy: The Last Star: Post-Wade, Miami Sports Is BereftWade Fittingly Goes Out A Winner And 30-point Star; and Thank You, Dwyane Wade, Miami's G.O.A.T.

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

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

Twitter @gregcote

September 04, 2019

Fantasy family! Poll! Which of these teams would you most like to have in PPR league based on 1st 5 picks. Last day to vote!; plus NFL picks return this week & more

1) It's WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 4. It's the perfect time to check out my 'Fins At 50' book at Amazon. 2) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Dolphins trade Tunsil in blockbuster deal, Hot Button Top 10 & more. 3) Join us on Twitter.com/gregcote. Also on Facebook and Instagram.

Picks"Aaawwwk!" NFL picks return this week!: Our 29th season of NFL predictions returns this week. A Miami Herald fixture since 1991, our picks appear in print every Friday and online Thursday afternoons. Our Thursday night pick appears that day in print and online today/Wednesday. We are inexplicably coming off our best season ever, with a .705 winning percentage overall last year and .582 against the betting line. Can we slay the evil point spread again this season? Come along for the ride and find out starting this week!

The Tunsil trade column: Losing Laremy Tunsil really hurts, but getting two first-round pick and second was too much to turn down. Please visit Trading Tunsil Hurts,But Dolphins Won This Deal.

Our Dolphins and Hurricanes preview-section columns: For our 2019 NFL Team Rankings: Who's Super Bowl-Bound And Where Dolphins Land. And mining UM history for perspective on a bold decision: Diaz's Choice For Hurricanes QB Not Seen In More Than 50 Years.

FantasyBLIND POLL: RATE MY FANTASY TEAM BASED ON FIRST 5 PICKS: On Sunday we held our PFPI Fantasy (friends and family league) draft, a 10-team PPR league that had a snake draft. The exact order is shown below; i.e., Saquon Barkley was the No. 1 overall pick. Vote which team you would most like to have based on each team's first five picks. After a couple of days of voting I'll tell you you how you ranked my team among the 10 and give you the results in order. Ready? Vote now!

Previous most recent other columns: Clowney Would Be Missing Piece in Dolphins' Emerging Plan / Luck Deserves Praise For Putting Health, Life Above Football / Hurricanes Have Only Themselves To Blame For Opening Loss / Zero Doubt: Rosen, Not Fitzpatrick, Must Start For Dolphins / Here's Why Canes Took Bold Gamble on Jarren Williams at QBDolphins' Ross Cannot Be Surprised By Major Fallout Over Trump Fundraiser / Le Batard on Miami Radio Turmoil: 'We Were Evicted' / and Buoniconti: Hall of Famer, But Even Greater Off the Field.

Select other recent columns: How Brian Flores Won Dolphins Players' Respect Before Ever Coaching A Game / In Tyreek Hill, Goodell And NFL Turn Blind Eye To Domestic Violence / Le Batard Defies Trump, ESPN's No-Politics Policy / The 4 Ways Miami Heat Had A Winning Offseason / What If Everybody's Wrong About The Dolphins? / Wimbledon, Tiger, U.S. Women For Starters. Why 2019 Is Greatest Sports Year Ever / Heat And Riley Lose On Westbrook, But Loss Might Still Be A Win / Coco's Wimbledon Runs Ends, But U.S. Tennis Just Found Its Next Big Thing / Queens of the World. U.S. Soccer Wins Again / Bold Moves To Get Jimmy Butler Make Heat -- And Pat Riley -- Relevant Again / New-look Panthers: Lots Of Hope, Zero Excuses Left / It Is Megan Rapinoe's World Cup -- On And Off The Field / An Era Ends As Panthers' Luongo Retires / Heat's Haslem Doesn't Need Us Telling Him Whether To Retire / Drip Or Swag, Herro Brings It, And Heat Need It / O.J. Can Tweet What He Wants, But How He's Seen Is Not Up To Him / Ranking Dolphins, Heat, Marlins & Panthers' Best Young Players / Heat Must Dump Bad Contracts Starting With Whiteside, Dragic /Inter Miami Aiming High With Barca's Suarez / For Marlins, An Encouraging Two Weeks Is Progress / End The Illogical Shame and Honor Schnellenberger / Dolphins Land Big Prize in Wilkins / Oh To Be Hated Again! Lean Times For Miami Sports / Why Tiger's Masters Triumph Is About More Than Golf / Case For Kaepernick's Comeback As A Dolphin / Transgender-Athlete Firestorm A Necessary Debate / Across the Rio Grande to the PGA Tour / From Dark and Empty to Top Of the World: Dan Le Batard at 50 / And, our Dwyane Wade Farewell Trilogy: The Last Star: Post-Wade, Miami Sports Is BereftWade Fittingly Goes Out A Winner And 30-point Star; and Thank You, Dwyane Wade, Miami's G.O.A.T.

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

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

Twitter @gregcote

August 31, 2019

Giving up Tunsil in trade would be huge risk for Dolphins, Flores. Latest column; plus why Clowney could be missing piece for Fins (but not for Tunsil!), Andrew Luck deserves praise for retirement call & more

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

1) It's SATURDAY, AUGUST 31. Farewell, August, month that brings us football. Thank you for blowing Hurricane Dorian away from South Florida. 2) It's the perfect time to check out my 'Fins At 50' book at Amazon. 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Canes fall to Gators with CSM poll result, Hot Button Top 10, why Rosen must start at QB for Dolphins, your Fitzpatrick-Rosen poll verdict & more. 4) Join us on Twitter.com/gregcote. Also on Facebook and Instagram.

NEW! DOLPHINS AND HURRICANES PREVIEW SECTION COLUMNS:

Who's Super Bowl-Bound And Where Dolphins Land: Our 2019 NFL Team Rankings.

Diaz's Choice For Hurricanes QB Not Seen In More Than 50 Years: Mining UM history for perspective on a bold decision. 

TunsilFLORES USED TO TUMULT, BUT DOLPHINS TRADING TUNSIL WOULD BE TOO MUCH: Brian Flores’ introduction to NFL head coaching has included losing a defensive tackle to an amputated arm after a truck accident; abruptly firing his offensive line coach in the middle of training camp; enduring the fallout of the club owner’s fundraiser for Donald Trump; and guiding what is expected to be the worst team in the NFL. Now, as exhibition games cede to the regular season, Flores has made the wrong choice for a starting quarterback and put the mind-set of his locker room at risk amid corrosive speculation about the future of stalwart left tackle Laremy Tunsil. Coaches have had smoother preseasons. The upside: If you believe that stuff about baptism by fire, consider Mr. Flores fully baptized. And now the hard work begins. And the hard decision, too. Choosing Ryan Fitzpatrick over Josh Rosen was easy. Low risk. But choosing whether to include Tunsil in a trade for Texans pass rusher Jadeveon Clowney? High risk. Huge stakes. And Flores’ grip on his team in the balance. The Tunsil/Clowney cloud hovers as everything begins for real, with Tunsil pictured. To read my full most recent column, please visit Tunsil/Clowney Trade Would Be Powderkeg for Dolphins, Flores.

DOLPHINS' GRAND PLAN BECOMING CLEAR. AND CLOWNEY WOULD FITA football fan need not dive deep down the rabbit hole of analytics to know the simple truth about any NFL roster. JclowneyFour positions are paramount. Essential. They are: Quarterback, a fearsome pass rusher, a lockdown cornerback and a premier left tackle. Start with QB and place the others in any order you wish. The Miami Dolphins’ understanding of this at last has come clear. Say this much: After most of 20 years of floundering irrelevance and lurching shifts in personnel and philosophy, the franchise’s current regime at least has a plan. A clue. It is why Miami gave shutdown corner Xavien Howard, who just turned 26, a record five-year, $75.3 million contract extension through 2024. It is why left tackle Laremy Tunsil, who just turned 25, is off the board, untouchable, in terms of trade inquiries, and why his contract (still dirt-cheap on his rookie deal) surely will be extended before he becomes a free agent following the 2020 season. It is why the Dolphins presently are looking hard into a trade for disgruntled Texans pass-rush star Jadeveon Clowney, 26, and more proven-elite than even Howard or Tunsil. And it is why Miami has stocked draft capital in a hell-bent plan to claim its long elusive star quarterback in 2020, buying up into the draft order if needed, ideally to get grand prize Tua Tagovailao of Alabama. To read my entire recent column, with an emphasis on the interest in Clowney (pictured), please visit Clowney Would Be Missing Piece in Dolphins' Emerging Plan.

SAVE THE SCORN. ANDREW LUCK DESERVES PRAISE FOR HIS RETIREMENT CALLIndianapolis Colts football fans will wish they could take this back, but they cannot. It was too late the Luckmoment it happened. It stained a city in a way that can’t ever quite be scrubbed clean. Only in an age driven by the immediacy of social media could this have happened. It was during Saturday night’s Colts home preseason game. Star quarterback Andrew Luck had planned to announce the next day that he was retiring. That night, not playing, he was on the sideline enjoying himself with teammates for what would be the last time. Then the news broke during the game, and it spread faster than any wildfire. It was trending on Twitter in seconds. It was caroming throughout the stadium. When the game ended and Luck walked off the field in street clothes the fans who loved him an hour before booed him. Loudly. "I’d be lying if I said I didn’t hear it," he said, forced to make his announcement that night. "It hurt." And there you have the perfect epitaph to an NFL career cut short by choice: It hurt. That is what this sport does to a body and a mind. It hurts. It leaves scars. It makes men in their 30s limp. It leaves hands gnarled and misshapen. It cuts short lives, and sometimes makes the end of those lives torturous. Congratulations to Luck for getting out when he could, on his terms. For understanding there is more to life than football. To read my entire recent column, please visit Luck Deserves Praise For Putting Health, Life Above Football.

Previous most recent other columns: Hurricanes Have Only Themselves To Blame For Opening Loss / Zero Doubt: Rosen, Not Fitzpatrick, Must Start For Dolphins / Here's Why Canes Took Bold Gamble on Jarren Williams at QBDolphins' Ross Cannot Be Surprised By Major Fallout Over Trump Fundraiser / Le Batard on Miami Radio Turmoil: 'We Were Evicted' / and Buoniconti: Hall of Famer, But Even Greater Off the Field.

Select other recent columns: Don't Overthink It, Dolphins. Start Rosen / How Brian Flores Won Dolphins Players' Respect Before Ever Coaching A Game / Countdown To Hurricanes-Gators On As Practices Begin / In Tyreek Hill, Goodell And NFL Turn Blind Eye To Domestic Violence / Le Batard Defies Trump, ESPN's No-Politics Policy / The 4 Ways Miami Heat Had A Winning Offseason / What If Everybody's Wrong About The Dolphins? / Wimbledon, Tiger, U.S. Women For Starters. Why 2019 Is Greatest Sports Year Ever / Heat And Riley Lose On Westbrook, But Loss Might Still Be A Win / Coco's Wimbledon Runs Ends, But U.S. Tennis Just Found Its Next Big Thing / Queens of the World. U.S. Soccer Wins Again / Bold Moves To Get Jimmy Butler Make Heat -- And Pat Riley -- Relevant Again / New-look Panthers: Lots Of Hope, Zero Excuses Left / It Is Megan Rapinoe's World Cup -- On And Off The Field / An Era Ends As Panthers' Luongo Retires / Heat's Haslem Doesn't Need Us Telling Him Whether To Retire / Drip Or Swag, Herro Brings It, And Heat Need It / O.J. Can Tweet What He Wants, But How He's Seen Is Not Up To Him / Ranking Dolphins, Heat, Marlins & Panthers' Best Young Players / Heat Must Dump Bad Contracts Starting With Whiteside, Dragic /Inter Miami Aiming High With Barca's Suarez / For Marlins, An Encouraging Two Weeks Is Progress / End The Illogical Shame and Honor Schnellenberger / Smart Decision A No-Brainer: Dolphins Should Start Rosen / Dolphins Land Big Prize in Wilkins / Oh To Be Hated Again! Lean Times For Miami Sports / Why Tiger's Masters Triumph Is About More Than Golf / Case For Kaepernick's Comeback As A Dolphin / Transgender-Athlete Firestorm A Necessary Debate / Across the Rio Grande to the PGA Tour / From Dark and Empty to Top Of the World: Dan Le Batard at 50 / And, our Dwyane Wade Farewell Trilogy: The Last Star: Post-Wade, Miami Sports Is BereftWade Fittingly Goes Out A Winner And 30-point Star; and Thank You, Dwyane Wade, Miami's G.O.A.T.

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

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

Twitter @gregcote

August 26, 2019

Canesfan Satisfaction Meter: G1: 64.1% following 24-20 loss to Florida (with column); latest Hot Button Top 10 (updated), plus why Rosen should start at QB for Dolphins, Fitzpatrick vs. Rosen poll result & more

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

1) It's MONDAY, AUGUST 25. It's the perfect time to check out my 'Fins At 50' book at Amazon. 2) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Hot Button Top 10, case for Rosen as Dolphins' starting QB & more. 3) Join us on Twitter.com/gregcote. Also on Facebook and Instagram.

Our column on last night's Canes loss to Gators: Please visit Hurricanes Have Only Themselves To Blame For Opening Loss.

CANESFAN SATISFACTION METER: G1: 64.1%: Results are certified for the opening game of the 11th 1aa1csmseason of the Miami Herald's Canesfan Satisfaction Meter postgame polls, and they show 64.1 percent overall approval (the combination of "very" and "somewhat" satisfied votes) in the wake of Saturday night's season-opening 24-20 loss to No. 8 Florida in Orlando. That's a fairly high number following a loss. The CSM is your invitation after every Hurricanes game to vote on your overall satisfaction with the team and season in a continuing weekly gauge of how UM football fans are feeling. Criteria for voting is your own, but I suggest you consider the most recent game's performance and caliber of opponent, the season as a whole, the program's direction and your overall degree of optimism -- all in the context of reasonable expectations. You may vote here in the blog, elsewhere online here, and also at Twitter.com/gregcote (where the approval was 44%). Online voting will determine the weekly verdict, which will be announced here the morning after one full day of voting. In this case that was around 8:30 a.m. Monday.

2019 Canesfan Satisfaction Meter

G1: 64.1% following 24-20 loss vs. Florida in Orlando.

Next poll: Sept. 7 following game at North Carolina.

MiaflaG1: HURRICANES VS. NO. 8 FLORIDA (IN ORLANDO): DIAZ / WILLIAMS ERA OPENS AS BIG 'DOGS: What a stage for Canes rookie head coach Manny Diaz and first-time starting quarterback Jarren Williams to introduce themselves nationally to college football! Miami and old rival Florida own the nation's attention as the sport's 150th season opens with this game, alone, tonight at 7 on ESPN at the old Citrus Bowl. The erstwhile yearly state rivals haven't met since 2013, and the reunion finds the No. 8-ranked Gators big 7-point favorites coming off a 10-3 season capped by a 41-15 bowl thrashing of Michigan. Miami by contrast limped to the finish at 7-6 after a 35-3 bowl loss to Wisconsin, yet expectations are high enough that UM debuts just outside the Top 25 (29th) in the preseason Associated Press poll. This game for me distills to which offense will be better able to find an answer because this matchup figures to be dominated by two strong defenses. Miami's led by linebacker Shaq Quarterman and UF's led by cornerback C.J. Henderson will be very tough to move and score on. The quarterback position alone gives Florida an edge, with Feleipe Franks' experience in contrast to Williams, whose only prior college action was three pass attempts in garbage time vs. Savannah State last year. Diaz surprised most by anointing Williams for the job over returning incumbent N'Kosi Perry and highly touted Ohio State transfer Tate Martell. Tonight we begin to see if Diaz made the right call. Cote's pick: Florida 20, Hurricanes 16.

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

Hotbutton1. HURRICANES: Miami falls to Gators in season opener: Miami led three times Saturday night in Orlando but fell 24-20 to No. 8-ranked Florida to kick off college football's 150th season and the Manny Diaz era at The U. What if I'd have told you before the game that the Canes would get a really good performance from new QB Jarren Williams and four takeaways from the defense? That's a win, right? Both happened. No win. But a "right direction" feeling moving forward, am I right?

2. NFL: Stunner! Colts QB Luck retires from NFL: Indianapolis and the NFL reel with the news Saturday night that star quarterback Andrew Luck had abruptly and immediately retired from football three weeks shy of his 30th birthday, citing constant shoulder and other injuries. Jacoby Brissett is now the Indy starter. That sound you hear is the Colts falling from top-tier AFC contender to conference also-ran. 

3. DOLPHINS: Three fake games in, Fins' QB battle still undecided: Fins now 2-1 this preseason after beating Jacksonville here Thursday, but nobody cares. Fake games. What does matter is the decision at quarterback, but coach Brian Flores keeps not making it. He's still weighing Ryan Fitzpatrick vs. Josh Rosen entering this Thursday's fake finale in New Orleans. Dear Brian: You're trying to find this team's future, remember? Rosen, please!

4. COLLEGE FOOTBALL: Can anyone bust up the Clemson-'Bama stranglehold?: Canes and one other game snuck in early, but for everyone else the start of college football's 150th season is on deck this week. Highlights: Thursday, No. 1 Clemson whips whomever it's playing and Butch Davis' FIU visits Tulane. Saturday, No. 2 Alabama crushes somebody, Florida State hosts Boise State, and Lane Kiffin leads FAU to slaughter at No. 5 Ohio State.

5. BASKETBALL: U.S. shaky with men's FIBA World Cup on deck: The major 32-nation international hoops event begins this coming Saturday and runs though Sept. 15 in China, with Team USA on shaky ground after a tuneup loss to Australia -- the first time in 13 years an American team with NBA players has lost. Team USA is the favorite but no cinch for gold. Most top NBA stars said nah -- Kemba Walker is the biggest-name U.S. player -- so let's see what Gregg Popovich can do with this B-team roster.

6. TENNIS: Serena, Djokovic favored as U.S. Open begins: Year's fourth and final Grand Slam event begins today/Monday and runs through Sept. 9 in New York, with Serena Williams and Novak Djokovic the betting favorites -- although Serena is only the No. 8 seed. Williams tries again for what would be a record-tying 24th career major, but to do it she must first survive a tough first-round draw in unseeded Maria Sharapova in what, oddly, will be these old rivals' first-ever U.S. Open  meeting.

7. MARLINS: Fish playing out the string as homestand continues: Fish are an NL-worst 47-82 after 0-6 road swing and now 2-1 into a seven-game homestand vs. Phillies and now Reds. The 100-Loss Watch now projects to 59-103. The question: When will the Marlins' bright future get here ... and will Don Mattingly still be around to manage it?

8. GOLF: Mclroy wins season ending Tour Championship: Lightning injured six fans (none seriously) and delayed the Tour Championship in Atlanta, the PGA Tour's season-ending event open only to the year's top 30 money winners. But eventually Rory McIlroy avoided rivals and lightning sufficient to win.

9. YOUTH BASEBALL: U.S. reigns in Little League World Series: Curacao upset powerhouse Japan on Saturday for the international crown and River Ridge, La. beat Wailuku, Hawaii for the U.S. title in the Little League Word Series. Sunday, the U.S. team bopped Curacao 8-0 for the grand title. Now all of those 12-year-old boys can go from being on national TV to being nervous about meeting girls again.

10. SPRING FOOTBALL: XFL reveals team names, logos: Vince McMahon's new eight-team XFL, set to begin play in February 2020, revealed its team names and logos (including the Tampa Bay Vipers). If the history of previous pro spring league attempts is any indication, we can expect the "XFL is folding" announcement any time around midseason 2021.

Missing the HB10 cut: Show of hands. Who drafted Andrew Luck on their fantasy team Saturday? ..... U.S. Patent Office denied Tom Brady's trademark request for "Tom Terrific". About damned time Brady lost at something ..... Orioles set all-time record with a 259th home run allowed. Does the pitching coach walk to the mound in a false nose and glasses? ..... Dolphins coach Brian Flores played eight straight Jay-Z songs at practice a day after receiver Kenny Stills criticized Jay-Z's alliance with the NFL. To "challenge" Stills, said Flores. Weird ..... Dwight Howard to the Lakers. Hahahahaha! ..... Larry Bird complained after an artist painted a mural that depicted him with tattoos. A little too much free time there, Lar? ..... Been a minute Conor McGregor did anything embarrassing. Somebody check, make sure he's OK ..... Update: Countdown now 2,492 days (give or take) until Miami hosts its first match in the 2026 World Cup.

RosenZERO DOUBT NOW. ROSEN MUST START FOR DOLPHINS! LATEST COLUMN: Me, from the stadium, off last night's Dolphins win over Jacksonville in Fake Game 3: The Miami Dolphins seem prepared to take a big loss even before the NFL regular season begins. Is this a thing that might actually happen? This is the feeling, and we hope we are wrong. Because it would be much easier to say "oops" on what we think and fear might happen than to try to explain why on earth a team in the midst of a rebuild might start bearded fossil Ryan Fitzpatrick at quarterback at the direct expense of fully finding out what it has in young Josh Rosen. Fins coach Brian Flores acknowledged his Fitzpatrick-leaning after Thursday night’s 22-7 home exhibition win over Jacksonville, saying of Rosen’s performance: "He played well. That makes the decision harder." OK, stop right there. The decision should not be hard. The answer is Rosen (pictured), and it didn't take his leading that 99-yard scoring drive to know that. To read my full column, kindly visit Zero Doubt: Rosen, Not Fitzpatrick, Must Start For Dolphins.

Previous most recent other columns: Here's Why Canes Took Bold Gamble on Jarren Williams at QBDolphins' Ross Cannot Be Surprised By Major Fallout Over Trump Fundraiser / Le Batard on Miami Radio Turmoil: 'We Were Evicted' / and Buoniconti: Hall of Famer, But Even Greater Off the Field.

POLL RESULT: ROSEN CLOBBERS FITZPATRICK IN HERALD TWITTER POLL: We posted a Fitzpatrick-or-Rosen poll on our Twitter feed, it drew 2,380 votes in one day and Rosen beat Fitzpatrick in a landslide with 76 percent of the vote at Twitter.com/gregcote.

Select other recent columns: Don't Overthink It, Dolphins. Start Rosen / How Brian Flores Won Dolphins Players' Respect Before Ever Coaching A Game / Countdown To Hurricanes-Gators On As Practices Begin / In Tyreek Hill, Goodell And NFL Turn Blind Eye To Domestic Violence / Le Batard Defies Trump, ESPN's No-Politics Policy / The 4 Ways Miami Heat Had A Winning Offseason / What If Everybody's Wrong About The Dolphins? / Wimbledon, Tiger, U.S. Women For Starters. Why 2019 Is Greatest Sports Year Ever / Heat And Riley Lose On Westbrook, But Loss Might Still Be A Win / Coco's Wimbledon Runs Ends, But U.S. Tennis Just Found Its Next Big Thing / Queens of the World. U.S. Soccer Wins Again / Bold Moves To Get Jimmy Butler Make Heat -- And Pat Riley -- Relevant Again / New-look Panthers: Lots Of Hope, Zero Excuses Left / It Is Megan Rapinoe's World Cup -- On And Off The Field / An Era Ends As Panthers' Luongo Retires / Heat's Haslem Doesn't Need Us Telling Him Whether To Retire / Drip Or Swag, Herro Brings It, And Heat Need It / O.J. Can Tweet What He Wants, But How He's Seen Is Not Up To Him / Ranking Dolphins, Heat, Marlins & Panthers' Best Young Players / Heat Must Dump Bad Contracts Starting With Whiteside, Dragic /Inter Miami Aiming High With Barca's Suarez / For Marlins, An Encouraging Two Weeks Is Progress / End The Illogical Shame and Honor Schnellenberger / Smart Decision A No-Brainer: Dolphins Should Start Rosen / Dolphins Land Big Prize in Wilkins / Oh To Be Hated Again! Lean Times For Miami Sports / Why Tiger's Masters Triumph Is About More Than Golf / Case For Kaepernick's Comeback As A Dolphin / Transgender-Athlete Firestorm A Necessary Debate / Across the Rio Grande to the PGA Tour / From Dark and Empty to Top Of the World: Dan Le Batard at 50 / And, our Dwyane Wade Farewell Trilogy: The Last Star: Post-Wade, Miami Sports Is BereftWade Fittingly Goes Out A Winner And 30-point Star; and Thank You, Dwyane Wade, Miami's G.O.A.T.

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

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

Twitter @gregcote