October 29, 2018

Latest Hot Button Top 10 (updated): See who's No. 1 this week and what else falls where; plus Red Sox reign, it-ain't-easy-being-a-Dolfan column, NFL Week 8 picks & more

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

1) It's MONDAY, OCTOBER 29. Check out the latest Canesfan and Dolfan postgame satisfaction polls at CSM and DSM. Warning. They're both both depressing. 2) Homer Me the Red Sox fan is presently staging a one-man championship parade in his house. Go Saaawx! 3) Football season means it's the right time to delight Dolfans you know with our 'Fins At 50' book. Check it out on Amazon. 4) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Hurricanes lose at Boston College with CSM poll, it-ain't-easy-being-a-Dolfan column, other state Collball & more. 5) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook and Instagram.

It ain't easy being a Dolfan: Hundreds of Miami Dolphins fans told me what it's like to be Dolfan. I bet some of y'all can relate. Their/your answers informed my latest column. To read the venting and frustration, visit Dolfans, Your Team Is Not Easy To Love.

NFL Week 8 picks: We bull's-eyed Thursday night's Dolphins loss in Houston. For all of Sunday's (and tonight's) picks, visit Week 8 Gems.

Other most recent stuff: On Dolphins head coach: Snakebit Adam. On N'Kosi Perry's lap-cash video: Family Tradition. And on Marlins signing Victor Victor Mesa and Victor Jr.: Victory-y, Miami! 

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

Hotbutton1. DOLPHINS: Fins fall in Houston as defense collapses again: The 42-23 Thursday night loss at Houston dropped Miami (once 3-0) to an even 4-4 at midseason. However, other than Ryan Tannehill still being out, the recent embarrassing defensive collapse, the spate of injuries and palpable fan dissatisfaction, indications are all is well!

2. HURRICANES: Slumping UM loses at Boston College: UM's 27-14 Friday night loss at Boston College found neither Malik Rosier nor the defense playing particularly well. Canes now 5-3 after the second straight loss, with hopes fading sharply for a return to ACC title game. Mark Richt's third season in the Gables is looking like regression.

3. MLB: Dominant Red Sox roll to World Series championship!: Boston bounced the Dodgers in five games, clinching last night with a home run barrage in L.A. -- the Red Sox's only loss that record-setting 18-inning, 7-hours-plus marathon on Friday. Red Sox fans weren't sure whether to want the clincher back at Fenway or to get it over with last night -- a happy dilemma indeed.

4. HEAT: Miami above .500 for first time: Heat's 120-111 home win over Portland has Miami 3-2 and on good side of .500 for first time in the young NBA season. Dwyane Wade's 18 in first half and Goran Dragic's 28 total did the heavy lifting. Oh, and Chris Bosh earlier made his first return to arena since his medical departure. It was a love-fest, a hug-in! The soundtrack of the visual would have been the whole crowd singing Kumbaya!

5. COLLEGE FOOTBALL: Season's first CFP ranking on deck: First College Football Playoff pecking order comes out Tuesday, with the top four all that matters. Alabama-Clemson-Notre Dame should be a clear, perfunctory top three, but then it gets interesting. Call it The Fight For Fourth.

6. GATORS: Florida's big chance goes awry vs. Georgia: It was No. 9 Gators vs. No, 7 Bulldogs in neutral Jacksonville Saturday and it was close ... and then it wasn't. Georgia pulled away and won 36-17, dropping UF's season from potentially special to shades of pretty good.

7. PANTHERS: Struggling Cats headed for pair in Finland: With Saturday's 3-2 loss at New Jersey the Panthers have now won only two of their first nine games, five of them going to overtime or shootouts. Florida now faces Winnipeg two in a row in Helsinki, Finland, as part of NHL's Global Series this Thursday and Friday. Maybe a break from North America will do the Cats good.

8. COLLEGE BASKETBALL: Canes men's hoops still embroiled in FBI mess: FBI wiretaps into college basketball corruption include Adidas reps discussing whether to divert a top recruit from Arizona to UM, an Adidas school. Neither Jim Larranaga or his program have been implicated in wrongdoing, but it's still an unwanted cloud as his Hurricanes' Nov. 9 season opener nears.

9. SOCCER: It was an unusual El Clasico Sunday: Real Madrid at Barcelona in La Liga play on Sunday was the 238th El Clasico but the first in more than a decade featuring neither Cristiano Ronaldo (who left Madrid for Juventus over the summer) nor Lionel Messi (out injured for Barca with a fractured arm). Call it El Clasico Reducido. And a rout: Barca, 5-1.

10. FIU: ButchCats win, get bowl-eligible: FIU is 6-2 and bowl-eligible after a 38-17 rout at Western Kentucky. Last year FAU's Lane Kiffin dwarfed FIU's Butch Davis in attention among the first-year coaches. This year so far: Lane Train off the rails and it's all ButchCats.

Missing the HB10 cut: Halloween is Wednesday. I wanted a costume nobody else would have, so I'm dressing up as someone who isn't the least bit worried that America is going insane ..... That reminds me: Robert D. Bowers and Cesar Sayoc, your reservations in Hell are confirmed ..... Four Jaguars reportedly tried to skip out on a $64,000 bar tab in London. I'm guessing they went top-shelf? ..... LeBron wins! Finally, after the Lakers' 0-3 start ..... Marlins' recently signed young Cuban star, Victor Victor Mesa, is relentlessly active on social media. If his hitting is as productive as his Tweeting, Fish fans will be in for a treat ..... Countdown now 21 days 'til NASCAR season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway ..... Update: Countdown now 2,794 days (give or take) until Miami hosts its first match in the 2026 World Cup.

Other select recent columns: When the Dolphins D Was A Letter GradeWade Reminds Us Why We'll Miss HimNo More Excuses, Florida PanthersTannehill: Requiem For A QuarterbackKid QB Passes His Big TestWhatever Happened to Kenyan Drake? NFL 2018 Team RankingsDolphins? Heat? Nope. UM Football Owns This TownNFL Enters Year 3 Of Anthem-Protest QuagmireTo The Good-Guy Grinder In The ShadesTime to Flip the Old Narrative On Miami As a Sports TownCan Riley Rescue Heat From Purgatory? When 3 World Cup Legends Were Ours.

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

Twitter @gregcote

October 28, 2018

Canesfan Satisfaction Meter: 7.8% (season low); plus UM falls at BC 27-14, now 5-3 as ACC title-game hopes take huge hit. Our thoughts; plus it ain't easy being a Dolfan (latest column), other state Collball (Gators fall, FIU wins) & more

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

1) It's SATURDAY, OCTOBER 27. Check out the latest Dolfan Satisfaction Meter (DSM) vote here. Ouch. It's a season low. 2) I've been a Red Sox fan since 1967. They're back in the World Series. Hell NO  I didn't stay up 7 hours until 3 a.m. for  last night's 18-inning game, are you insane!? 3) Football season means it's the right time to delight Dolfans you know with our 'Fins At 50' book. Check it out on Amazon. 4) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Dolphins get clobbered in Houston with DSM poll, NFL Week 8 picks & more. 5) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook and Instagram.

IT AIN'T EAST BEING A DOLFAN (NEW COLUMN): Hundreds of Miami Dolphins fans told me what it's like to be Dolfan. Their answers informed my latest column. To read the venting and frustration, visit Dolfans, Your Team Is Not Easy To Love. My other most recent work: Latest NFL picks: Week 8 Gems. Dolphins' coach is more than competent, he's just: Snakebit Adam. N'Kosi Perry's cash video isn't Canes outrage, it's a: Family Tradition. And Marlins signing Victor Victor Mesa and Victor Jr., it's: Victory-y, Miami! 

CsmCANESFAN SATISFACTION METER: G8: 7.8%: Results are certified in the latest Canesfan Satisfaction Meter postgame poll, and they show a season-low 7.8 percent overall approval -- the combination of "very" and "somewhat" satisfied votes -- in the wake of Friday night's 27-14 UM loss at Boston College putting Miami's season record at 5-3 overall and 2-2 in the ACC. The CSM is your invitation after every Canes football game -- no matter the result or opponent -- to vote on your overall satisfaction with the team and season in a continuing weekly gauge of how UM football fans are feeling. Criteria for voting is your own, but I suggest you consider the most recent game's performance and caliber of opponent, the season as a whole, the program's direction and your overall degree of optimism -- all in the context of reasonable expectations. Results are certified official the morning after one full day of voting. In this case that was around 10:15 a.m. today/Sunday. (The CSM also takes place on my Twitter site @gregcote. The vote there was 16% approval).

2018 CSM game-by game results

G1: 9.2% following 33-17 loss to LSU.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Next poll: Nov. 3 following game vs. Duke. 

G8: @BOSTON COLLEGE 27, HURRICANES 14: SECOND STRAIGHT LOSS DROPS UM TO 5-3Postgame thoughts: We called the (slight) upset win by host Boston College. The score was legit, indicative of the flow of the game. Malik Rosier (two picks, one his fault) did not score enough. Mostly, the vaunted Canes defense allowed almost 450 yards of BC offense. Miami now 5-3, a Bc Theusharp step back from last season thus far, and a return to the ACC title game now an unlikelihood ..... Original post: When we last left the Canes they were falling 16-13 at Virginia, falling to a 5-2 record , and falling like a rock from No. 16 clean out of the national polls. (I put out a "Nervous Night Alert" for that game and was right!) Well, now, after a bye week, it doesn't get any easier for The U, folks. Tonight's 7 o'clock game at Boston College before ESPN cameras will be a rugged challenge. Both teams are 5-2 and 2-1 in the ACC. UM needs a win to keep a realistic hope of getting back to the conference championship game, but the Canes are modest 3 1/2 point favorites in temps expected in the 40s, and a win by the BC Eagles should shock nobody. Malik Rosier is back starting at QB for Miami as Mark Richt continues to waffle between his veteran and redshirt-freshman N'Kosi Perry. Rosier is back on merit, Richt says, although Perry's infamous cash-money video surely made returning to Rosier easier. Boston College also is coming off a bye, and is 4-0 at home. Miami has dominated the all-time series, 24-5, but the most recent meeting (2012) predating all the current players lessens the significance of that trend. Miami's stout defense vs. premier BC running back A.J. Dillon will be a key tonight. A shaky Canes offensive line giving Rosier time to operate also will be important. The return of BC's Dillon from injury and the weather magnifying the Eagles' home-field edge tips this coin-flip prediction. My pick: Boston College, 24-20.

OTHER STATE COLLBALL: There are seven FBS-level college teams in Florida. Here's chronological Week 9 schedule for the rest (all Saturday unless noted otherwise):

Louisiana Tech (6-2) beats FAU (3-5), 21-13: Owls were favored by 3 1/2 in the Boca nest, but Lane Kiffin saw FAU's 10-game home win streak end Friday night as his humbling sophomore season continued. Lane Train: Derailed.

No. 2 Clemson (8-0) beats FSU (4-4), 59-10: This final weekend before first College Football Playoff ranking would have been a really bad time for the Tigers, 17-point favorites, to fall. Um, no chance. A scoreless first quarter turned into an avalanche that buried the Noles.

No. 7 Georgia (7-1) beats No. 9 Florida (6-2), 36-17: World's Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party in neutral-site Jacksonville might have been the college Game of the Year going in, but, after Gators hung in for awhile, it was quite the mismatch. Favored Dawgs earned an inside lane to reach SEC title game and also gets to believe it still has a shot at sneaking up into CFP top four.

Houston (7-1) beats No. 21 South Florida (7-1), 57-36: Big American conference duel found USF a 7 1/2-point road 'dog with good reason. Farewell polls, Bulls!

FIU (6-2) beats Western Kentucky (1-7), 38-17: FIU was a mere 3-point road favorite but the ButchCats rolled to a huge, bowl-assuring victory.

Off this week: No. 10 UCF (7-0); next vs. Temple Thursday Nov. 1.

Week 9 national Top 25 matchups (3): No. 9 Florida vs. No. 7 Georgia (see above); 17-Penn State beats 18-Iowa 30-24; and 14-Washington State beats 24-Stanford 41-38.

Other select recent columns: When the Dolphins D Was A Letter GradeWade Reminds Us Why We'll Miss HimNo More Excuses, Florida PanthersTannehill: Requiem For A QuarterbackKid QB Passes His Big TestWhatever Happened to Kenyan Drake? NFL 2018 Team RankingsDolphins? Heat? Nope. UM Football Owns This TownNFL Enters Year 3 Of Anthem-Protest QuagmireTo The Good-Guy Grinder In The ShadesTime to Flip the Old Narrative On Miami As a Sports TownCan Riley Rescue Heat From Purgatory? When 3 World Cup Legends Were Ours.

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

Twitter @gregcote

October 27, 2018

Dolfan Satisfaction Meter: 5.8%; plus Fins defense crushed in Houston 42-23 as Miami falls to 4-4 at midyear with our thoughts; also, NFL Week 8 picks, defending Adam Gase, Radio Friday & more

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

1) It's FRIDAY, OCTOBER 26. Watch a for a new blogpost featuring a preview of tonight's Canes game at Boston College to post here by late afternoon. 2) Red Sox lead World Series 2-0. Homer Me very happy! 3) Football season means it's the right time to delight Dolfans you know with our 'Fins At 50' book. Check it out on Amazon. 4) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Confessions of a Red Sox homer, Herald NFL QB rankings, Pix 'n Fantasy results, Cote's State of State rank & more. 5) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook and Instagram.

It's Radio Friday!: My role at ESPN is expanding a bit to include occasional LeBatard Show appearances beyond my regular every-Tuesday gig. So I'm co-hosting today, 10 to 1 on ESPN Radio and ESPNews, with the local 9-10 hour on Miami's 790 The Ticket. Join us! 

COTE'S COLUMN TROIKA FOR THE WEEK (SO FAR...):

The Dolphins' head coach is more than competent, he's just ... Snakebit Adam.

N'Kosi Perry's cash video isn't a Canes outrage,  it's a ... Family Tradition.

The Marlins signing Victor Victor Mesa and Victor Jr., it's ... Victory-y, Miami! 

DsmDOLFAN SATISFACTION METER: G8: 5.8%: Results are certified in the latest Dolfan Satisfaction Meter postgame poll, and they show a season-low 5.8 percent overall approval -- the combination of "very" and "somewhat" satisfied votes -- in the wake of Thursday night's 42-23 Dolphins loss at Houston putting Miami's season record at 4-4. The DSM is a continuous weekly gauge of how Dolfans are feeling about the team and its direction. Right after each game I invite you to share your overall degree of satisfaction. Criteria for voting is your own, but I suggest fans consider the most recent game's performance and caliber of opponent, season as a whole, direction the club is heading and your overall degree of optimism -- all in the context of reasonable expectations. Results are certified official the morning after one full day of voting. In this case that was around 9:45 a.m. today/Saturday. (The DSM also takes place on our Twitter site @gregcote. The vote there was 20% approval).

2018 DSM game-by-game results

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Next poll: Nov. 4 following game vs. N.Y. Jets

G8: HOUSTON 42, DOLPHINS 23: ANOTHER DEFENSIVE NIGHTMARE RUINS MIAMI: Postgame thoughts: Dolphins 4-4 at midseason after 42-23 loss that was somewhat competitive for awhile but ultimately not really. Osweiler wasn't very good but defense doomed Miami for second straight week. Fins gave up 188 rushing yards (5.4 per carry) and 11.9 yards per pass attempt as Watson threw for five TDs. I hope Dolphins defensive coordinator Matt Burke doesn't have an exit-row seat on the flight home. He might jump ..... Fourth quarter: HOU 42-23 on Watson-Hopkins 2-yard TD -- Watson's fifth scoring pass. Miami defense abysmal for second week in row, including 38-yard interference penalty on McCain ... MIA 23-35 on 46-yard FG ... HOU 35-20 on Watson-Hopkins 49-yard TD -- Watson's fourth scoring pass of game. Miami defense being gouged all over field for second week in row ..... Third quarter: MIA 20-28 on 41-yard FG it make it 1-possession game in last minute of quarter. DeVante Parker 46-yard catch off deflection spearheads drive ... HOU 28-17 on Watson-Fuller 73-yard TD pass that victimized McCain in coverage ... MIA 17-21 on Amendola 28-yard trick-play TD pass to Drake. Strong Gore running led the drive ... HOU 21-10 on Watson-Thomas 2-yard TD and game slipping away from Fins. Miller 58-yard run keyed drive, second straight week of awful run defense by Miami ..... Halftime thoughts: Very encouraging half for Miami, which I thought was in jeopardy of a blowout loss ..... Second quarter: Huge break for Miami when Texans return sack-fumble by Osweiler for TD and apparent 21-10 lead only to have call reversed and called incomplete pass ... MIA 10-14 on 37-yard FG. Game much more competitive than I foresaw. Encouraging for Fins thus far ... HOU 14-7 on Deshaun Watson 13-yard TD to Jordan Thomas right after Brock Osweiler interception. Bad luck on INT, though. Danny Amendola seemed interfered with but no call. Officiating crew having a nightmare ..... First quarter: HOU 7-7 on 2-yard TD run by ex-Fin Lamar Miller late in quarter. A 34-yard catch by Will Fuller led the drive ... MIA 7-0 on Drake 12-yard TD run after penalty against HOU wiped a FG off board ... The 18th straight game with no opening-drive TD for Miami. Right decision but wrong call on 4th-and-1; a pass with about a foot to go ... Any Dolfans out there feeling lucky? ..... Original post: Two 4-3 teams but Houston is home, hot and a 7 1/2-point favorite for the prime-time game. That's Miahoubecause NFL Week 8 launches with the Dolphins on the road battling not only the Texans but also The Curse of Thursday Night. Miami has lost its two Thursday games under Adam Gase, both also on the road, by a combined 62-7 score. The Fins lost the Thursday before that away from home by 36-7. In all Miami has lost five Thursday road games in a row since last winning under Chad Henne (!) at Carolina in 2009. Fast forward nine years and it don’t look good, Dolfans. Just about every measurable skews heavily Houston. Miami has lost eight of its past nine road games dating to last season and is on a 1-7 series skid vs. the Texans, while hot Houston has won four games in a row. The Fins’ erratic offensive line gave up four sacks last week and now faces J.J. Watt and Jadeveon Clowney, a pass-rush super-duo "horrible to go up against," admitted Gase. Deshaun Watson is a dynamic dual-threat to Miami’s defense, and elite receiver DeAndre Hopkins will be a handful, while Miami will be missing two of its most dynamic playmakers in injured Albert Wilson and Kenny Stills. (That’ll mean a DeVante Parker sighting!) Bonus sidelight: RB Lamar Miller, facing his ex-Fins, had to love watching Miami’s run-D last week, and ex-Bronco Brock Osweiler, in his third start for ailing Ryan Tannehill, confronts his toughest test yet. OK I’ll admit that’s a lot of gloom piled on Miami. Now three reasons a Dolfan might be hopeful: 1) Law of averages says Miami’s Thursday road-hell will end sometime, right? 2) Watson can be error-prone (seven picks, seven fumbles), so if Miami can rattle his cage and coax a turnover or two, therein lies the upset key. 3) This is the NFL, where ‘dogs are barking every week. (Visit Thursday Gem for the full Dolphins predix capsule as it appears online). My pick: Houston, 30-16.

PicksIT'S UPSET BIRD DAY IN AMERICA!: ALL THE REST OF OUR NFL WEEK 8 PICKS: The once 3-0 Dolphins stumble to midseason at 4-4 after last night's defensive abomination in Houston, but rather than canceling the remaining Week  8 schedule in mourning for Miami, the NFL plays on! And so do we. My latest NFL picks include my Game of the Week, Upset of the Week ("Aawwk!") and all the rest. Our 28th season of Friday NFL picks (online Thursdays) is sailing well. Entering the week we were a stout 72-33-2 (.686) overall and a more solid 56-47-4 (.544) against the spread. And our Week 8 got off to a great start albeit at Miami's expense. We we won-and-won as we had the Texans both winning and covering the 7 1/2-point line. Visit here for that Thursday pick, and dive into Week 8 Gems for all of our latest other selections.

Other select recent columns: When the Dolphins D Was A Letter GradeWade Reminds Us Why We'll Miss HimNo More Excuses, Florida PanthersTannehill: Requiem For A QuarterbackKid QB Passes His Big TestWhatever Happened to Kenyan Drake? NFL 2018 Team RankingsDolphins? Heat? Nope. UM Football Owns This TownNFL Enters Year 3 Of Anthem-Protest QuagmireTo The Good-Guy Grinder In The ShadesTime to Flip the Old Narrative On Miami As a Sports TownCan Riley Rescue Heat From Purgatory? When 3 World Cup Legends Were Ours.

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

Twitter @gregcote

October 24, 2018

Osweiler's (modest) climb in Herald Week 7 NFL QB rankings; plus Radio Tuesday, Go Red Sox!, Pix 'n Fantasy results (Go Lobos!), Cote's college State of the State rank & more

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

1) It's WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 24. Football season means it's the right time to delight Dolfans you know with our 'Fins At 50' book. Check it out on Amazon. 2) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Dolphins fall at home to Detroit with DSM poll, Hot Button Top 10, your Perry vs. Rosier verdict & more. 3) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook and Instagram.

Most recent columns: On Marlins' big signings, Dolphins' defensive collapse, Wade's home debut: On Monday's big Marlins signings: Victor-y as Marlins Land Victor Victor and Victor! On Sunday's Dolphins home loss: When the Dolphins D Was A Letter Grade. And on Saturday's home-opening Heat loss: Wade Reminds Us Why We'll Miss Him.

WsGO RED SOX! BEAT THE DODGERS!: This is a perfectly impartial note from a neutral journalist as the World Series begins tonight at Fenway Park. Please understand. Though I'm a South Floridian since early childhood, I was born in Massachusetts. The Patriots were never big with me as a kid. Neither were the Bruins. The Celtics were second. But it was the Red Sox, clearly, that had me. Carl Yastrzemski and that 1967 Impossible Dream season hooked me. I named my first cat Yaz. That season and that team and that man kindled the love of sports that would, somehow, lead to a lifelong career writing about it. So, yeah: Go Red Sox!

RYAN SNATCHES WEEK FROM MAHOMES / MIAMI HERALD NFL QB RANKINGS / WEEK 7: Falcons' Matt Ryan (pictured) scored a 49.95-point game Monday night to narrowly win Week 7 honors Mryanover Chief Patrick Mahomes' 48.90 in the Herald's latest NFL quarterback rankings. Viking Kirk Cousins maintains his season lead and Ryan bumps up into second ahead of Saint Drew Brees. Because our rankings are cumulative, players on a bye week take a temporary hit that evens out over the course of a season. Dolphin Brock Osweiler, filling in for injured Ryan Tannehill, scored a 30.95-point game tto move up three spots to 32nd overall. This is our 21st season of Passer Success System (PASS) NFL QB rankings. Our formula is simple and unchanged since its inception in 1998, factoring accuracy, yardage, TD-interception ratio and team result. (Formula detailed below). Most major ranking systems such as the NFL's and ESPN's are complicated and percentile based, allowing QBs who miss half a season to still win a title, while our system is cumulative, rewarding players who are consistently productive and avoid injury or benching. The Top 15 table (plus Dolphins) entering Week 8:

MIAMI HERALD PASS RANKINGS / WEEK 7
RK    LW    Player, Team                        WK7           Season

1       1       Kirk Cousins, MIN                  33.05         283.60

2       3       Matt Ryan, ATL                     49.95         281.70

3       2       Drew Brees, NO                    35.60         277.50

4       5       Patrick Mahomes, KC            48.90         267.15

5       4       Jared Goff, LAR                   33.10          254.50

6       7       Philip Rivers, LAC                 38.30         251.40

7       9       Andrew Luck, IND                 35.80         238.40

8       10     Tom Brady, NE                      38.85         235.80

9       14     Eli Manning, NYG                  38.95         219.05

10     6       Ben Roethlisberger, PIT          BYE           215.65

11     13     Joe Flacco, BAL                    26.95         215.35

12     8       Aaron Rodgers, GB                 BYE           208.35

13     11     Andy Dalton, CIN                    8.40          202.10

14     21     Carson Wentz, PHI                44.50          193.10

15     12     Derek Carr, OAK                     BYE           192.15

27     27     Ryan Tannehill, MIA                DNP          112.60

32     35     Brock Osweiler, MIA               30.95         77.70

Bubble: Matthew Stafford, 191.10. Week 7 best: Ryan, ATL, 49.95 (31-39, 379, 1-0 in win). Week 7 worst: Sam Darnold, NYJ, minus-3.70 (17-42, 206, 1-3 in loss). Points formula: Accuracy—Completions times two minus attempts. Ex: 17 for 28 = 6 points. Yardage—Five percent of total. Ex: 202 yards = 10.10 points. TD-interception ratio—Difference times three. Ex: Four TDs and one pick = 9 points. Team result—Winning QB of record = 5 points.

Picks LobosNFL WEEK 7 PIX 'N FANTASY RESULTS: STUMBLE, RISE: Every Tuesday in the blog I update you on how I did the past weekend with my Miami Herald predictions and with my LeBatard Show/League Of Lobos fantasy team. The latest: Herald picks: Stumble. Endured our worst showing both ways in Week 7, going 8-6 overall and 4-9-1 against the spread, with the Bucs win pushing at 3. Miserable misfire on our Upset of the Week (Jets) and also blew the Dolphins game. Not much to do but move on. Fast! Greg's Lobos: Rise. Improved to 3-4 and ended a 4-game losing streak with a 132.4 to 95.5 obliteration of Dan's team. The Lobos got 24 points from the Rams defense, 22.8 from Zach Ertz and 20.6 from Tyreek (Money) Hill to lead the parade. Still time for that majestic run to the playoffs! #WeAreTheLobos

COTE'S STATE OF THE STATE RANKINGS: Each Tuesday I rank the state's seven FBS-level college football teams. The latest: 1. UCF (7-0); 2. Florida (6-1); 3. Miami (5-2); 4. South Florida (7-0); 5. Florida State (4-3); 6. FIU (5-2); 7. FAU (3-4).

Other select recent columns: Dolphins Are Fun For A Change, and Playoff-GoodNo More Excuses, Florida PanthersTannehill: Requiem For A QuarterbackWith All D.Wade Has Meant, One Year to Say Goodbye Might Not Be EnoughKid QB Passes His Big TestWhatever Happened to Kenyan Drake? NFL 2018 Team RankingsDolphins? Heat? Nope. UM Football Owns This TownNFL Enters Year 3 Of Anthem-Protest QuagmireTo The Good-Guy Grinder In The ShadesTime to Flip the Old Narrative On Miami As a Sports TownCan Riley Rescue Heat From Purgatory? When 3 World Cup Legends Were Ours.

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

Twitter @gregcote

October 23, 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

2018 DSM game-by-game results

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Next poll: Oct. 25 following game at Houston.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Twitter @gregcote

October 21, 2018

Who should be the Miami Hurricanes' starting QB? Rosier vs. Perry poll. Vote now!: plus Heat drop home opener but Wade stars (and my column), other state Collball & more

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

1) It's SATURDAY, OCTOBER 20. Football season means it's the right time to delight Dolfans you know with our 'Fins At 50' book. Check it out on Amazon. 2) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): NFL Week 7 picks, your Heat expectations verdict, The List & more. 3) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook and Instagram.

DwudHEAT HOME OPENER BEGINS THE FAREWELL TONIGHT: Heat lose 113-112 but Wade stars. One outta two ain't bad. For my column from Saturday night: Wade Reminds Us Why We'll Miss Him. Original post: Miami's 31st NBA home opener is tonight at 8 vs. Charlotte in the bayside arena. The season's earliest indication is that the Heat will be just what we thought they'd be: a competitive team that will be fighting for one of the East's lower playoff seeds, not luxuriating among the conference's elite. Tonight also begins the season-long goodbye for brothers in arms Dwyane Wade and Udonis Haslem in their final Heat season. My recent column on Wade's farewell season: With All D.Wade Has Meant, One Year to Say Goodbye Might Not Be Enough.

Select other recent columns: Our latest NFL picks: Week 7 Gems. Also: Dolphins Are Fun For A Change, and Playoff-GoodNo More Excuses, Florida Panthers. And Tannehill: Requiem For A Quarterback.

RichtHURRICANES' TO-DO LIST FOR THE BYE WEEK: "Things To Get Accomplished On Our Off-Week, by Mark Richt: No. 1--Settle on a starting quarterback I can trust and win with. No. 2--See No. 1." The Canes are humbled to be out of the Top 25 for the first time all season as they lick the wounds of last week's 16-13 loss at Virginia, take this week off, then come back next week (Friday night) at Boston College. That's no easy game, by the way. It's another loss-threat. BC is 5-2, also will be coming off a bye, and is 4-0 at home. Could be close to a pick-'em game. Richt benched Malik Rosier for N'Kosi Perry only to reverse field during the UVA game. So who's the starter moving forward? In a prime-time road game at BC, I guessed Richt (pictured) would make the safe call (Rosier), and am right. But this can't be a quarter to quarter thing. Miami needs a fulltime QB. At 5-2 UM still is fighting to return to the ACC Championship Game so it isn't as if the rest of this season is all tinkering and forward-looking. The bowl outlook has shrunk; Auburn in the Music City Bowl is one projection I've seen. But that's getting ahead of ourselves. For now: A quarterback, please! And I mean beyond just Friday night. Your UM QB thoughts are invited in this poll. It's alphabetical, by the way. P before R. Vote now.

OTHER STATE COLLBALL: There are seven FBS-level college teams in Florida. With Miami idle, here's chronological Week 8 schedule for the rest (all Saturday):

Marshall (5-2) beats FAU (3-4), 31-7: Was surprised the Owls flew to Huntington, West Virginia as a 2 1/2-point road favorites. My surprise was borne out. Year 2 a struggle so far from Lane Kiffin.  

FSU (4-3) beats Wake Forest (3-4), 38-17: This game followed Miami and preceded visit by No. 3 Clemson, but Noles avoided the Sandwich Game letdown.

No. 10 UCF (7-0) beats East Carolina (2-5), 37-10: Starting quarterback out injured? No problem for Knights.

No. 21 South Florida (7-0) beats UConn (1-6), 38-30: Bulls, favored by 32, narrowly avoid shocking home defeat.

FIU (5-2) beats Rice (1-7), 36-17: The ButchCats are having a much better Year 2 under their new coach than is FAU, by the way.

Off this week: Miami (5-2; next at Boston College) and No. 11 Florida (6-1; next vs. No. 8 Georgia).

Week 8 national Top 25 matchups (4): No. 6 Michigan at No. 24 Michigan State; 16-North Carolina State at 3-Clemson; 22-Mississippi State at 5-LSU; and 12-Oregon at 25-Washington State.

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

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

Twitter @gregcote

October 19, 2018

Will 'Mr. Brocktober' lead a Dolphins upset of Detroit on Sunday? All our latest NFL Week 7 picks, right here!; plus your detailed verdict of Miami Heat season expectations, The List (career TD passes) & more

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

1) It's FRIDAY, OCTOBER 19. Football season means it's the right time to delight Dolfans you know with our 'Fins At 50' book. Check it out on Amazon. 2) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Heat open season with expectations poll, Dolphins turn exciting and fun, Herald NFL QB rankings, Pix 'n Fantasy results, Cote's college State of the State rank & more. 3) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook and Instagram.

IT'S UPSET BIRD DAY IN AMERICA!: DOLPHINS-LIONS AND ALL THE REST OF OUR NFL WEEK 7 PICKS: An exhilarating, exciting, comeback home win over the mighty (we thought) Bears last Picks
Detmiaweek left Miami 4-2 and ebullient. The bad news? The wins gotta keep comin' for the playoffs to loom into view. In a very-crowded-at-the-top AFC, six teams have two losses and five others have three. ESPN'S Football Power Index today slots Miami ninth in line for six playoff tickets, with a 20.9 percent postseason likelihood. So the Dolphins must keep winning games within reach of them. Enter Detroit on Sunday. Detroit is a road favorite, perhaps because Ryan Tannehill (shoulder) is out again and Brock Osweiler is in. Will the "Mr. Brocktober" magic continue? Read the full Fins-Lions predix capsule at the top of my latest NFL predictions. They include my Game of the Week, Upset of the Week ("Aawwk!") and all the rest. Our 28th season of Friday NFL picks (online Thursdays) is sailing well. We are a stout 64-27-2 overall (.703) and more importantly a strong 52-38-3 against the spread (.578) entering Week 7. (Unfortunately our week got off to a shaky start Thursday night with badly misplaced faith on the miserable, cowardly Cardinals. Not that I'm bitter!). Dive into Week 7 Gems for all of our latest picks.

Select other recent columns: Dolphins Are Fun For A Change, and Playoff-Good. Also: No More Excuses, Florida PanthersTannehill: Requiem For A Quarterback. And With All D.Wade Has Meant, One Year to Say Goodbye Might Not Be Enough.

POLL RESULTS: YOU SET HEAT EXPECTATIONS AT MODEST, BUT PLAYOFFS: Miami is 1-1 entering Saturdays home opener. Before the first game we asked, "What is the most likely number of Miami Heat regular-season wins in 2018-19?" Your results:

44.07% -- 45 to 49 wins,a solid playoff number.

28.81% -- 40 to 44 wins, a marginal/maybe playoff number.

11.86% -- 50 or more wins, top-four-seed territory.

10.17% -- 35 to 39 wins, no postseason for you.

5.08% -- 34 or fewer wins, thinking draft lottery.

THE LIST: NFL TOUCHDOWN PASS LEADERS: With Drew Brees on the doorstep of a milestone, the top 10 NFL career leaders in TD passes

1. Peyton Manning                       539

2. Brett Favre                                508

3. Tom Brady, Patriots                 501

4. Drew Brees, Saints                  499

5. Dan Marino                               420

6. Philip Rivers, Chargers          357

7. Eli Manning, Giants                 345

8. Fran Tarkenton                         342

9. Ben Rothelisberger, Steelers   341

10. Aaron Rodgers, Packers         325

Note: Next among active players are Falcons' Matt Ryan (274), Lions' Matthew Stafford (226) and Ravens' Joe Flacco (209).

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

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

Twitter @gregcote

October 18, 2018

Miami Heat open with loss in Orlando. You set bar on season expectations/wins. New poll. Vote now!; plus how Dolphins went from Dullphins to exciting and fun, Herald NFL QB rankings, Pix 'n Fantasy results, college State of the State rank & more

1) It's THURSDAY, OCTOBER 18. Find the latest Dolfan Satisfaction Meter results in the previous blogpost or see them directly here. 2) Football season means it's the perfect time to delight the Dolfans in your life with our 'Fins At 50' book. Check it out here on Amazon. 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Dolphins beat Bears in OT with DSM poll, Hot Button Top 10 & more. 4) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook and Instagram.

OPENING NIGHT! HEAT BEGIN SEASON OF MYSTERIOUS EXPECTATIONS. YOU SET THE BAR IN NEW POLL: Heat lose opener in Orlando, 104-101, last night despite Goran Dragic's 26 points, Josh Richardson's 21 and Hassan Whiteside's 18 rebounds. Dwyane Wade has 9 off bench on only 3-of-13 shooting. Miami had an early 14-point lead but frittered it away against a bad Magic squad. Disappointing ..... Original post: Miami opens its 31st NBA season -- and Dwyane Wade's last -- tonight at 7 in Orlando, Dwadewhich has six straight losing seasons and is on its fifth coach since 2012. The Magic is the opposite of the steady Heat. It would be a surprise if Miami didn't come away 1-0, even though the Heat battle injury issues with James Johnson and (of course) Dion Waiters out, and Justise Winslow and Wayne Ellington both doubtful. Heat return a largely intact 44-38 team for Erik Spoelstra's 11th season, trying to find a way to get back in the playoffs and improve upon last season's 4-1 first-round ouster by Philadelphia. Wade and Udonis Haslem beginning their final Heat season tops the emotional marquee in Miami. But the trade that didn't happen (or at least hasn't yet) is on the mind. Jimmy Butler. In going hard after him Miami obviously felt it needed the impact player it now lacks to be a real player in the East. The Heat wins with great coaching, stout defense, balanced scoring and depth. But it lacks starpower and an elite playmaker, no knock on Wade (pictured), who is easing toward retirement at age 36. So, sans Butler, how good will the Heat be? Eight of 15 teams make the East playoffs, and Miami should be one of those. Based on ESPN's Power Rankings, Miami is fifth-best in the East. Based on Basketball Power Index win projections, Miami is seventh (at 42.3). The Heat must break into the clear upper tier of the East (Celtics, Raptors, 76ers, Bucks) to earn home-court advantage in the playoffs. Assuming no Butler trade, what are your expectations for this Heat season? Set the bar in this new poll and remember to vote not on what you're hoping for as a fan, but what you are logically expecting and would bet on. Vote now!

HighfiveEXCITING, EXPLOSIVE AND FUN. YES, WE ARE TALKING ABOUT THE DOLPHINS: The Miami Dolphins at 4-2 are a lot of things they typically are not. They're fun. They're a big-play team. They have opponent-beating speed. I explain all the ways they suddenly have become an interesting team ... and why they should be a playoff team this season. Two of the big reasons -- Albert Wilson and Jakeem Grant -- are pictured at left. This is the gist of my latest column. To read it, visit Dolphins Are Fun For A Change, and Playoff-Good.

Other select recent columns: No More Excuses, Florida PanthersTannehill: Requiem For A Quarterback. And With All D.Wade Has Meant, One Year to Say Goodbye Might Not Be Enough.

RYAN WINS WEEK, COUSINS TAKES OVER, OSWEILER COMES UP BIG / MIAMI HERALD NFL QB RANKINGS / WEEK 6: Falcons' Matt Ryan scored a 52.70-point game to Brockowin Week 6 honors and vault to third place in the Herald's latest NFL quarterback rankings. Viking Kirk Cousins displaces Saint Drew Brees for the overall season lead, owing largely to Brees' bye week. Because our rankings are cumulative, players on a bye week take a temporary hit that evens out over the course of a season. Dolphin Brock Osweiler (pictured), filling in for injured Ryan Tannehill, scored a 39.00-point game that ranked fifth for the week. This is our 21st season of Passer Success System (PASS) NFL QB rankings. Our formula is simple and unchanged since its inception in 1998, factoring accuracy, yardage, TD-interception ratio and team result. (Formula detailed below). Most major ranking systems such as the NFL's and ESPN's are complicated and percentile based, allowing QBs who miss half a season to still win a title, while our system is cumulative, rewarding players who are consistently productive and avoid injury or benching. The Top 15 table entering Week 7:

MIAMI HERALD PASS RANKINGS / WEEK 6
RK    LW    Player, Team                        WK6           Season

1       2       Kirk Cousins, MIN                  30.65         250.55

2       1       Drew Brees, NO                    BYE            241.90

3       7       Matt Ryan, ATL                     52.70         231.75

4       3       Jared Goff, LAR                    12.05         221.40

5       5       Patrick Mahomes, KC             33.60         218.25

6       9       Ben Roethlisberger, PIT         44.45         215.65

7       4       Philip Rivers, LAC                  20.35         213.10

8       8       Aaron Rodgers, GB                36.25         208.35

9       6       Andrew Luck, IND                 21.05         202.60

10     13     Tom Brady, NE                       38.00         196.95

11     11     Andy Dalton, CIN                   27.45         193.70

12     10     Derek Carr, OAK                    22.10         192.15

13     14     Joe Flacco, BAL                     29.90         188.40

14     12     Eli Manning, NYG                   16.05         180.10

15     15     Deshaun Watson, HOU           15.85         173.90

27     22     Ryan Tannehill, MIA               DNP           112.60

35     39     Brock Osweiler, MIA               39.00          46.75

        Bubble: Mitch Trubisky, CHI, 164.05. Week 6 best: Ryan, ATL, 52.70 (31-41, 354, 3-0 in win). Week 6 worst: Nathan Peterman, BUF, 0.05 (6-12, 61, 1-2 in loss). Points formula: Accuracy—Completions times two minus attempts. Ex: 17 for 28 = 6 points. Yardage—Five percent of total. Ex: 202 yards = 10.10 points. TD-interception ratio—Difference times three. Ex: Four TDs and one pick = 9 points. Team result—Winning QB of record = 5 points.

Picks LobosNFL WEEK 6 PIX 'N FANTASY RESULTS: SOLID ON PICKS, BUT MORE OH-NO-LOBOS: Every Tuesday in the blog I update you on how I did the past weekend with my Miami Herald predictions and with my LeBatard Show/League Of Lobos fantasy team. The latest: Herald picks: Pretty solid again. We were 11-4 overall but 7-8 against the spread -- our first week sub-.500 ATS, though a survivable stumble. We nailed another Upset of the Week with Steelers winning at Cincy ("Aawwk!"), scored another outright upset with Cowboys beating Jacksonville, and had Bills-with-point over Houston. This hurt: Wrote that our gut feeling was Dolphins over Chicago but changed our mind. Wish I hadn't! Greg's Lobos: Ouch ... again. The Lobos fell to 2-4 with an embarrassing fourth straight loss, beaten by the fruit of our own loins in falling 157.8 to 114.1 to Chris. Got a huge 39.2 points from Tyreek Hill and way too little from anyone else. A combined 20.9 from my QB and two RBs will get you beat most weeks. We've got problems beyond the Le'Veon Bell mess. But knowing that and finding a remedy are two different animals. Still plenty of time. #WeAreTheLobos

COTE'S STATE OF THE STATE RANKINGS: Each Tuesday I rank the state's seven FBS-level college football teams. The latest: 1. UCF (6-0); 2. Florida (6-1); 3. Miami (5-2); 4. South Florida (6-0); 5. Florida State (3-3); 6. FIU (4-2); 7. FAU (3-3).

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

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

Twitter @gregcote

October 16, 2018

Dolfan Satisfaction Meter: 75.0% after 31-28 OT thriller over Chicago. Plus our postgame thoughts; plus latest Hot Button Top 10 (updated) & more

1) It's MONDAY, OCTOBER 15. Football's here and that means it's the perfect time to delight the Dolfans in your life with our 'Fins At 50' book. Check it out here on Amazon. 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Hurricanes at Virginia with CSM poll, rest of state Collball, your Heat/Butler trade verdict & more. 3) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook and Instagram.

Latest CSM results in: Voting is complete in the latest Canesfan Satisfaction Meter poll following Saturday's 16-13 loss at Virginia. Find it in the previous blogpost or directly here.

Our most recent columns: No More Excuses, Florida Panthers and Tannehill: Requiem For A Quarterback. Also: Kid QB Passes His Big TestWhatever Happened to Kenyan Drake? and With All D.Wade Has Meant, One Year to Say Goodbye Might Not Be Enough.

DsmDOLFAN SATISFACTION METER: G6: 75.0%: Results are certified in the latest Dolfan Satisfaction Meter postgame poll, and they show 75.0 percent overall approval -- the combination of "very" and "somewhat" satisfied votes -- in the wake of Sunday's 31-28 overtime home victory over Chicago putting Miami's season record 4-2. The DSM is a continuous weekly gauge of how Dolfans are feeling about the team and its direction. Right after each game I invite you to share your overall degree of satisfaction. Criteria for voting is your own, but I suggest fans consider the most recent game's performance and caliber of opponent, season as a whole, direction the club is heading and your overall degree of optimism -- all in the context of reasonable expectations. Results are certified official the morning after one full day of voting. In this case that was around 8 today/Tuesday. (The DSM also takes place on our Twitter site @gregcote. The vote there was 67% approval).

2018 DSM game-by-game results

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

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

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

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

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

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

Next poll: Oct. 21 following game vs. Detroit.

G6: CHICAGO AT DOLPHINS: BOUNCEBACK BY FINS DOUBLY TRICKY WITH TANNEHILL OUT: Postgame thoughts: The Dolphins' 31-28 overtime home win over favored Chicago today had to be one of the better regular season shows in franchise history. Ryan Tannehill sat out inactive with a shoulder injury. Miami should have had no chance against a vaunted Bears defense. But the Fins, down 21-10 deep ino the third quarterback, kept fighting back, kept answering. There were heroes everywhere. Brock Osweiler passed for 380 yards and three TDs. Albert Wilson had 155 yards receiving and two scores. Frank Gore rushed for 101 yards. The depleted O-line erased Khalil Mack and gave up zero sacks. But it allwould have zeroed in on Kenyan Drake's goalline lost fumble in OT had Miami not won on a last second 47-yard field goal. What an exhilarating win for a Dolphins team that overcame consecutive bad losses and is now 4-2 on the year ..... Halftime thoughts: With QB Ryan Tannehill unexpectedly inactive with a shoulder injury, Brock Osweiler has done well: 12-for-19 for 114 yards and a 5-yard TD pass to Nick O'Leary. Only a later interception has smudged his day so far. Meanwhile two big defensive  plays -- a Reshad Jones fourth-down stop and a Kiko Alonso goalline fumble -- have preserved the shutout. This would be a significant upset. But can Miami close the deal? ..... Original post: Miami coach Adam Gase has a brief history with the Bears, having served one year as their offensive Miachicoordinator in 2015, in between his time in Denver and his coming to the Dolphins. His relationship with Jay Cutler that year led to Cutler's ill-fated signing by the Dolphins last season. Alas, I don't see Gase getting much more from the Bears on Sunday. Chicago is 3-1 and coming off a bye as a 3-point favorite entering Sunday's 1 p.m. game here. Miami is 3-2 and coming off consecutive awful road losses. It's the right time for a home game for Miami. But the wrong opponent. Our NFL predictions get from conception to delivery in myriad ways. Here, the gut feeling out the gate was to go with Miami — one of seven home ‘dogs in Week 6 — in a pretty big upset. The gut is usually enough. I’m a bit superstitious about thinking one thing and then changing my mind. But I did on this. Yes, the Dolphins (2-0 at home) have a reasonable upset shot, although I’d feel better about that if I was sure left tackle Laremy Tunsil (concussion protocol) would play. I mean, Bears sackstar Khalil Mack will wreak havoc regardless, but the likelihood of a Ryan Tannehill nightmare spikes sharply without Tunsil. This game arrives as a rare treat; it is only these teams’ fifth meeting since 2002 realignment, and also carries the faint echo of the famous 1985 meeting at the Orange Bowl, when the Bears were 12-0 but Miami won 38-24 to protect the Perfect '72 Fins' place in history. Alas, this meeting finds Miami coming off two straight dispiriting losses in Foxborough and in Cincy while hot Chicago is percolating on both sides of the ball. That’s why the betting line opened dead-even but moved strongly as money poured onto the Bears. Tannehill must outperform (not to mention outscore) Mitch Trubisky, but that’s a bigger ask of Tanny versus a Bears defense I’d judge among the league’s top three. For a Dolphins squad trying to heal from consecutive road meltdowns, this home game is well-timed. If only this opponent were as well. My pick: Bears, 23-16.

Visit Week 6 Gems for all of our latest NFL picks. Explainer: There was some confusion on two of my picks this week. I had Vikings winning and covering Sunday vs. Cardinals. I had Texans beating Bills, but Bills covering.

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

Hotbutton1. HEAT: Butler deal dead (for now) as season tips off in 2 days: Preseason? Done. Jimmy Butler trade? On life support. Regular season? Upon us. Miami's 31st NBA season tips off with road games Wednesday and Thursday at Orlando and Washington, and then the home opener on Saturday vs. Charlotte. The season will be about Dwyane Wade's "last dance" with Miami. It might have co-starred Jimmy Butler, but it appears that would-be trade has left the building.

2. DOLPHINS: Miami beats Bears in overtime thriller: Consecutive awful road losses -- 38-7 in Foxboro and then a blown 17-point lead in Cincinnati -- had the Dolphins hoping for some home healing Sunday vs. Chicago, and finding it in a 31-28 OT triumph. Ryan Tannehill sat out unexpectedly with a shoulder injury. Didn't matter. Brock Osweiler, the Wizard of Os, threw for 380 yards.

3. HURRICANES: UM loses at Virginia as benched Perry fails in first road start: Miami was No. 16 and 5-1 entering Charlottesville Saturday night but a mere 6 1/2-point favorite over the 3-2 Cavaliers in N'Kosi Perry's first career road start. We saw why. Perry stunk, Miami lost 16-13 and it appears Mark Richt is a man without a quarterback. 

4. PANTHERS: Cats' launch 25th home season with losses: Florida fell down by two goals early only to fight for a 4-3 lead and then lose 5-4 to the Columbus Blue Jackets in Thursday night's home opener. Worse: Cats have played three games in the young season and are yet to win. Way too desperate way too soon is where this team finds itself.

5. MLB: NL, AL championship series underway: The Brewers and Dodgers are two games into their NLCS and tied 1-1 while the Red Sox pulled even with the Astros in their ALCS Game 2 Sunday night. Milwaukee, having never won a title in 50 seasons, is your Cinderella-designate of the final four. Amazing Christian Yelich had the season he did in those glass slippers.

6. MARLINS: Fish boot half of coaching staff after last-place finish: The Marlins fired four from their coaching staff including their pitching coach and popular longtime infield guru Perry Hill. Yeah, that'll solve it. It wasn't the massive payroll dump that caused the losing. It was coaching!

7. GATORS: Florida escapes Vanderbilt: The Gators trailed much of the game Saturday but a big second half carried UF, 37-27.

8. COLLEGE FOOTBALL: Upsets shake up CFP outlook: Georgia, West Virginia and Washington were among ranked upset losers Saturday, with Georgia's loss shaking up the College Football Playoff grid. The one constant: Alabama keeps winning

9. FIU: Rally, late stop lift Panthers: FIU beat Middle Tennessee State with an 11-point fourth quarter rally on then an end-zone interception in final minute. Nice win for the ButchCats.

10. MMA: Controversy throughout sport!: Scandal in the wake of the Conor McGrgeor fight and now controversy in Bellator, too. Or, did that go without saying?

Missing the HB10 cut: Update. Countdown now 2,808 days (give or take) until Miami hosts its first match in the 2026 World Cup.

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

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

Twitter @gregcote

October 15, 2018

Canesfan Satisfaction Meter: 13.0% following 16-13 UM loss at Virginia; plus I TOLD y'all it was a 'Nervous-Night Alert' for Canes!, other state Collball, your Heat/Butler verdict & more

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

1) It's SATURDAY, OCTOBER 13. Football's here and that means it's the perfect time to delight the Dolfans in your life with our 'Fins At 50' book. Check it out here on Amazon. 2) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Dolphins-Bears and other NFL Week 6 picks, Heat/Jimmy Butler poll, Panthers drop home opener & more. 3) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook and Instagram.

Our most recent columns: No More Excuses, Florida Panthers and Tannehill: Requiem For A Quarterback. Also: Kid QB Passes His Big Test (N'Kosi Perry), Whatever Happened to Kenyan Drake? and With All D.Wade Has Meant, One Year to Say Goodbye Might Not Be Enough.

NFL Week 6 picks: Dolphins-Bears and the rest: Get 'em all right here. Dive into Week 6 Gems.

CANESFAN SATISFACTION METER: G7: 13.0%: Results are certified in the latest Canesfan Satisfaction Meter postgame poll, and they 13.0 percent overall approval -- the combination of "very" and "somewhat" satisfied votes -- in the wake of 1aa1csmSaturday night's 16-13 loss at Virginia putting No. 16 UM's season record at 5-2 overall and 2-1 in the ACC. The CSM is your invitation after every Canes football game -- no matter the result or opponent -- to vote on your overall satisfaction with the team and season in a continuing weekly gauge of how UM football fans are feeling. Criteria for voting is your own, but I suggest you consider the most recent game's performance and caliber of opponent, the season as a whole, the program's direction and your overall degree of optimism -- all in the context of reasonable expectations. Results are certified official the morning after one full day of voting. In this case that was around 9:30 a.m. today/Monday. (The CSM also takes place on my Twitter site @gregcote. The approval there was 19.0%).

2018 CSM game-by game results

G1: 9.2% following 33-17 loss to LSU.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Next poll: Oct. 26 (after bye) following game at Boston College.

MiavaG7: @VIRGINIA BEATS NO. 16 HURRICANES, 16-13  AT VIRGINIA: NEITHER PERRY NOR ROSIER CAN AVERT BAD ROAD LOSS: Postgame thoughts: N'Kosi Perry stunk in his first career road start, threw two interceptions, and was benched. Deposed starter Malik Rosier came in, threw an interception and also was largely ineffective. The offensive line didn't enhance either QB's chances. We called it a danger game for UM, a letdown risk, and we were right. Original post: It isn't as dire as an official Upset Alert, no, but I issue a Nervous-Night Alert because so many tea leaves are telling me 5-1 UM may be in for a real fight at 3-2 Virginia Saturday night at 7. It's a road ACC division game at night, the Cavaliers aren't that bad and are 3-0 at home, Miami has lost three of the past four meetings in Charlottesville, and this will be N'Kosi Perry's first career game and start away from the friendly confines of Hard Rock. And those aren't even the main reasons for concern. This is: A letdown. For me, despite all of Mark Richt's preaching to his Canes, UM is at risk of a we-can-coast-a-little mindset in the wake of all the ballyhoo leading up to last week's FSU game and then Miami's dramatic comeback for a 28-27 win. It's tough to get up like that two weeks in a row. UM won't need that same level on Saturday, but neither can it afford to come out flat and hope to win on cruise-control. The U bumped up only one spot in the polls, so that rally past the Noles didn't impress the ranker-nerds all that much. Now UM is a modest 6 1/2-point favorite. (Florida is full of state FBS games designed to make fans nervous this week. Like UM, the Gators, UCF and South Florida all are ranked road favorites -- but by a single score. And FIU is favored at home by a scant 2 points). I see the Canes defense humbling a Cavaliers offense averaging 30 points. But this is another big test in Perry's development, and a turnover or two by him could keep it close. My pick: Hurricanes, 27-17.

OTHER STATE COLLBALL: There are seven FBS-level college teams in Florida. With Miami-Virginia above, here's chronological Week 7 schedule for the rest (all Saturday but where noted):

No. 23 South Florida (6-0) beats Tulsa (1-5), 25-24: Under the Friday lights on ESPN, Bulls needed a big fourth quarter road rally to escape a Tulsa squad not as bad as its record suggests.

No. 14 Florida (6-1) beats Vanderbilt (3-4), 37-27: Hot Gators risked road letdown after huge upset of No. 5 LSU last week, and needed 24-0 second half to rally poast Vandy.

No. 10 UCF (6-0) beats Memphis (4-3), 31-30: Knights were modest 4 1/2-point pick in AAC matchup, perhaps because Tigers were 4-0 at home, but rallied in second half. 

FIU (4-2) beats Middle Tennessee State (3-3), 24-21: Panthers, a 2-point fave, rallied in fourth quarter to  overtake the Conference USA East division lead.

Off this week: FAU (3-3; next at Marshall) and FSU (3-3; next vs. Wake Forest).

Week 7 national Top 25 matchups (3): No.13 LSU beats No. 2 Georgia, 36-16; 17-Oregon beats 7-Washington, 30-27 (OT); and 12-Michigan beats 15-Wisconsin, 38-13.

POLL RESULT: NO! HEAT SHOULD NOT GIVE UP TOO MUCH FOR BUTLER!: We asked, "Should the Miami Heat trade Josh Richardson, Bam Adebayo and a 2019 first-round draft pick to acquire Jimmy Butler?" and offered four choices, with a plurality of 48.31 percent, voting a strong no. Then it was 23.60% a soft no, 16.05% a strong yes, and 11.24% a soft yes. Broken down to yays and nays, it was 71.91% no and 28.09% yes.

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

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

Twitter @gregcote