January 18, 2021

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

HOT BUTTON TOP 10 (JANUARY 17-18): WHAT SOUTH FLORIDA SPORTS FANS ARE TALKING ABOUTOur blog-exclusive Sunday-into-Monday feature is part week-in-review, part look-ahead. Hot Button means what's on our minds, locally and nationally, from a Miami perspective, as the sports week just past pivots to the week ahead. This week's HB10:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

THE ARCHIVES:

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

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

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

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

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

xxx

January 04, 2021

G16: Buffalo 56, Dolphins 26: Collapse! Miami finds a way to miss playoffs. Our column off game; plus latest Hot Button Top 10 (updated), our Orange Bowl column, NFL Week 17 picks, Greg Cote Show podcast new episode out! & more

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

1) It's MONDAY, JANUARY 4. The Greg Cote Show podcast is separately on Twitter and Instagram. Join us on both! 2) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Hurricanes Rally But Fall in Cheez-It Bowl, NFL Pix 'n Fantasy Week 16 results, Greg Cote Show podcast's Holiday/Year-End episode & more. 3) Join me on Twitter and Instagram.

'Greg Cote Tuesdays' era ends on ESPN: Last week was our final Tuesday cohosting on the Le Batard Show under the ESPN umbrella. Thank you all much for the outpouring. The show's next and final day on ESPN will be Monday January 4. It will continue as a pirate ship on January 5 until it finds a new home. Will my role on the show continue? Ya neva know! (Stay  tuned...).

No. 5 Texas A&M makes its case in 87th Orange Bowl game: For or column off A&M's OB win over North Carolina: It Was the Overshadowed Bowl, but A&M and UNC Deliver An Exciting OB. Other most recent columns: 'A' For Effort, But King Hurt As Hurricanes' Bowl-Woes Continue yet Again / The King Is Dead! Dolphins Win Signals End of Era For Belichick, Pats / Heat Are Getting No Respect, But Didn't Earn Much In Opener / and For Dolphins' Tua, Now Is When We Begin to See If Greatness Is In His Reach.

MiabufG16: BUFFALO 56, DOLPHINS 26: MIAMI FINDSWAY TO MISS PLAYFFS: Fins finish a credible 10-6 but miss postseason. Our column off the game: Promising Season For Dolphins, Tua Ends In Crushing Collapse ..... Original post: Buffalo. Early January. Temps in the 30s. Snow showers likely. That’s the Dolphins’ opponent today (1 p.m., CBS). Oh, and the AFC East champion Bills, too. The point spread, given the weather, should be favoring Buffalo by maybe double the 3 points it is. Heck, Bills were only favored by a mere 1 1/2 before Miami lost insurance-QB Ryan Fitzpatrick to a COVID test-positive Thursday and the bet-line doubled. So what gives? 1) Bills are locked into AFC’s No. 2 or 3 seed, with no clear advantage to either. Makes it likely or at least very possible Buffs will rest key starters. As a template for what we might expect: When Week 17 didn’t matter much one year ago, QB Josh Allen played only seven snaps. 2) Dolphins make playoffs with a win, or if either the Ravens, Browns or Colts lose. No guarantees there, though, so Fins looking at this as must-win. Buffs at full strength, in this climate, are clear faves. But Bills’ big edge is on the attack, and fall from Josh Allen to backup Matt Barkley is steep, so that’s a difference maker if indeed Allen plays little or at all. Having said that, it’s all-or-nothing with Tua Tagovailoa Sunday, because the backup goes now from super-reliable Fitzpatrick to thoroughly untested Jake Rudock. It’s an all-Sunday, all-division games schedule to wrap this NFL regular season, and the slate is a minefield of games like this where the pick is at the mercy of who starts and who plays how much. Bottom line? If Sean McDermott goes all-out and Allen is slinging 40 passes, I may be in trouble picking Miami. If it plays out as I imagine, the weather will limit the score and play into the Fins' defense-first modus operandi. The league’s most improved D has gotten the Fins this far. Time to bring it home. (P.S., please do take the day off Josh Allen. You earned the rest!). My pick: Upset! Dolphins (+3), 20-17. For all of our latest picks: NFL Week 17 Gems

HOT BUTTON TOP 10 (JANJUARY 3-4): WHAT SOUTH FLORIDA SPORTS FANS ARE TALKING ABOUT: Our blog-exclusive Sunday-into-Monday feature is part week-in-review, part look-ahead. Hot Button means what's on our minds, locally and nationally, from a Miami perspective, as the sports week just past pivots to the week ahead. This week's HB10:\

HButton1. DOLPHINS: With playoffs on line, Miami suffers monumental collapse: The Dolphins would have made the playoffs Sunday with a win, or if either the Ravens, Browns or Colts lost. Sorry, none of it happened. Leaves Miami as the NFL's only 10-win team to not reach the postseason. Sad ending to an otherwise upbeat season. 

2. COLLEGE FOOTBALL: 'Bama, Ohio State coming to Miami for CFP finale: No Doubt I: Alabama over Notre Dame 31-14. No Doubt II: Ohio State over Clemson 49-28. Result: Crimson Tide an early 7-point favorite over Buckeys in College Football Playoff national championship game January 11 at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami. Oh, and Dabo Swinney keeps insisting he doesn't regret voting Ohio State 11th in the coaches' poll. Admit it or not, Dabo, you were your own team's worst enemy with that motivation-on-steroids for the opponent.

3. HEAT: Embarrassment vs. Bucks tops Miami's slow start: Defending NBA Finals runnerup Miami is only 2-3 entering Monday's game vs. Oklahoma City. Lowlight: A 144-97 blowout home-loss to Milwaukee as the Bucks avenged its playoff ouster by the Heat three months earlier. Milwaukee made an NBA-record 29 3-point shots (of 51 tries) in burying the Heat. Miami allowed fans in the arena (about 100 family and friends of players) for the first time. Pity they had to witness such a night. 

4. HURRICANES: Cheez-It Bowl loss continues UM's recent bowl woes: The Canes fought nobly from an early 21-0 deficit in losing 37-34 to Oklahoma State in the Cheez-It Bowl to finish 8-3. That's 'A' for effort but still a failing grade overall, with two straight losses to end the season, and a 10th defeat in the past 11 bowl games dating to 2008. (Also, when you are a five-time national champion whose season ends in the Cheez-It Bowl, sorry, but you cannot call that a successful year.

5. ORANGE BOWL: Texas A&M beats North Carolina in overshadowed OB: The No. 5-ranked Aggies handled No. 13 North Carolina, 41-27, in he 87th Orange Bowl game Saturday night at Hard Rock Stadium, the same city and stadium that will host the CFP title game next Monday. Did A&M make its case that it should have been in the the four-team playoff. Not convincingly.

6. PANTHERS: Cats set to open camp as NHL season nears: Florida opens preseason training camp today/Monday with a 39-man roster. The Panthers begin their 27th season with a four-game homestand starting January 14 vs. the Dallas Stars.  

7. LE BATARD: ESPN era ends for Miami-based personality: The Dan Le Batard Show With Stugotz bids farewell to ESPN's airwaves on Monday, then continues Tuesday as an independent enterprise before announcing its next destination. Exciting times ahead!

8. MARLINS: Back to earth for Fish in first '21 rankings: Miami unexpectedly made the expanded MLB playoffs last season and won a series, yet the Marlins are ranked only a mid-pack 17th in MLB.com's initial 2021 pre-spring rankings. Miami also ranks fourth of five in the NL East, ahead of only the Nationals. Still waiting for new GM Kim Ng to make some splash moves.

9. UM BASKETBALL: Canes men, women try to shake doldrums: Both UM teams began the new season 3-0. Now the Miami men are 4-4 after Saturday's 1-point home loss to Clemson, and the women are 5-3 with Sunday's win, also vs. the Tigers. 

10. MLB: Did someone forget to turn on the Hot Stove?: Yeah, pitchers Blake Snell and Yu Darvish have been traded. Otherwise there hasn't been a lot of major action in the major league offseason.

Missing the HB10 cut: Happy New Year, all! Hot Button Top 10 happy to be back after a week off ..... Johnny Manziel is coming out of retirement to play in something called the Fan Controlled Football league. The FCF is to debut with four teams in February. Over/under on the startup league folding: June 1 ..... The Greg Cote Show podcast's new Episode 43 is out Monday! ..... Update: Countdown now 2,003 days (give or take) until Miami hosts its first match in soccer's 2026 World Cup. 

PicksNFL WEEK 17 PICKS: DOLPHINS-BILLS, 4 BIG UPSETS, PLAYOFFS ON LINEWeek 16 holiday-gifted us a nice bounceback from a recent lull. We went 12-4 overall and 10-6 against the spread — solid on both. We bull’s-eyed yet another Upset of the Week with Steelers over Colts (“Aawwk!”), nailed a second outright upset with Cowboys over Eagles, and also hit on a trio of ‘dog-covers by 49ers, Falcons and Bengals. This is our 30th season of picks in the Herald and we thank you for following along! Now comes the tough part as Week 17 is wrought with games where it isn’t certain to what degree one team will be resting starters vs. playing to win — Bills-Dolphins one of those. No excuses, though. Let’s finish strong to toast 2021! Topping our Week 17 marquee: Fins at Buffalo, an unusual Game of the Week, four (!) upsets and a slew of game that will shape who's in the playoffs and out. Our picks appear Thursday afternoons every week online, and Fridays in print. For all of our latest picks to wrap the regular season, visit NFL Week 17 Gems

CoteshowGREG COTE SHOW PODCAST: NEW EPISODE OUT NOW!: Our Miami Herald podcast debuted in March and our No. 1 episode of 2021 is out now! A new pod drops every Monday morning on Apple, Spotify, Google, Stitcher, Megaphone -- wherever you pod, and of course at MiamiHerald.com. You can find all 43 we've done so far RIGHT HERE for free; please listen, subscribe, rate and review. In the latest Ep1 of '21, ESPN star Sarah Spain discusses the Le Batard Show on Dan's last day at the network, Greg and Chris chat up the Dolphins' massive collapse in Buffalo and, oh no, Mount Gregmore is back! Hear all of that and more in our first new episode of the year! Thanks as always for the support. Please listen, rate, review and subscribe.

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

THE ARCHIVES:

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

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

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

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

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

December 21, 2020

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

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

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

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

HOT BUTTON TOP 10 (DECEMBER 20-21): WHAT SOUTH FLORIDA SPORTS FANS ARE TALKING ABOUT: Our blog-exclusive Sunday-into-Monday feature is part week-in-review, part look-ahead. Hot Button means what's on our minds, locally and nationally, from a Miami perspective, as the sports week just past pivots to the week ahead. This week's HB10:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

THE ARCHIVES:

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

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

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

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

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

December 14, 2020

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

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

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

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

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

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

HOT BUTTON TOP 10 (DECEMBER 13-14): WHAT SOUTH FLORIDA SPORTS FANS ARE TALKING ABOUT: Our blog-exclusive Sunday-into-Monday feature, back after one week off, is part week-in-review, part look-ahead. Hot Button means what's on our minds, locally and nationally, from a Miami perspective, as the sports week just past pivots to the week ahead. This week's HB10:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

THE ARCHIVES:

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

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

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

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

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

October 19, 2020

Dolphins smother Stinkin' Jets 24-0 and we have a Tua sighting! My new column; plus overstuffed latest Hot Button Top 10 (updated), new Greg Cote Show podcast out now & more

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

1) It's MONDAY, OCTOBER 19. The Greg Cote Show podcast is now separately on Twitter and Instagram. Follow us on both! 2) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Hurricanes handle Pitt, NFL Week 6 picks, NFL Week 5 Pix 'n Fantasy results, Greg Cote Show podcast Episode 32 & more. 3) Join us on Twitter and Instagram.

NyjmiaG6: DOLPHINS 24, N.Y. STINKIN' JETS 0: MIAMI SAILS, REACHES .500 ... AND WE HAVE A TUA SIGHTING!: My column off the game: For Dolphins, 4th Straight Good Game -- And Tua, Too! Original post: Strange to ask, but after playing Seattle tough and then last week’s exhilarating road rout over San Fran, are the Dolphins at risk of overconfidence or a letdown Sunday vs. the lowly Jets? The division rivalry says probably not, but rarely in this series have the Fins been such a favorite or NYJ been so awful. The Jets stink at just about Tuaeverything. How does old friend Adam Gase still have a job? (Rhetorical question. He might not if Planes lose here). Now Le’Veon Bell is gone. Gase’s inability to get along with star players sounds like a bit of a job detriment. Bell also was available and ESPN reported he intended to sign with Buffalo, Kansas City or Miami; unsurprisingly he picked the Chiefs. Fins could have used him, obviously. Miami’s supposedly improved running game has been way disappointing. Even lacking balance, though, Fins’ offense still is averaging a decent 27.2 points per game. NFL has set five-week records for most TDs (453) and points (3,958) — no thanks to Jets’ league-worst offense, although NYJ’s equally bad defense probably deserves a little credit. Sam Darnold (shoulder) won’t play Sunday, but his regression and capable backup Joe Flacco make the QB change a push at worst for the Jets. Flacco is 6-0 in his career vs. Miami. But those six were with Baltimore, filet mignon to the Jets’ dog food. On the other side in this mis-matchup, Ryan Fitzpatrick should have another big game. Oh, and if Miami leads big late, might there even be a Tua Tagovailoa sighting for a series or so? This is the first time all season — the first game and situation — where I can see it as at least a possibility. Although with a bye on deck, a Week 8 first taste ‘o Tua may be likelier. This, by the water, is yet another NFL game affected by COVID-related schedule shuffling. Original 1 p.m. start was shifted to 4:05 to sneak in the previously postponed Denver-New England game at 1. My pick: Dolphins (-9 1/2) over Stinkin' Jets, 37-16. Visit NFL Week 6 Gems for this and all of our other latest previews and picks.

CoteshowGREG COTE SHOW PODCAST: NEW EPISODE 33 OUT NOW!: Our Miami Herald podcast, The Greg Cote Show With Greg Cote, debuted in March and the new Episode 33 is out now! A new pod drops every Monday morning on Apple, Spotify, Google, Stitcher, Megaphone, iHeart -- wherever you pod, and of course at MiamiHerald.com. Find all 33 we've done so far RIGHT HERE for free. Please listen, subscribe, rate and review. In new Ep33, 'Growing Up Cote II,' we welcome back my older brother for Uncle Dick 2.0. He makes fun of explains the phenomenon of PFPI and the PFPI Gala, shares how Greg is so odd on a golf course, and reveals what he really thinks about how Dan Le Batard treats his little brother on the air. Also, Greg and Chris chat up Tua's long-awaited Dolphins debut. A new Mount Gregmore, too -- the P's. Hear all that and more on the new Greg Cote Show podcast!

HOT BUTTON TOP 10 (OCTOBER 18-19): WHAT SOUTH FLORIDA SPORTS FANS ARE TALKING ABOUT: Our blog-exclusive Sunday-into-Monday feature is part week-in-review, part look-ahead. Hot Button means what's on our minds, locally and nationally, from a Miami perspective, as the sports week just past pivots to the week ahead. This week's HB10:

HButton1. DOLPHINS: Hot Fish blank Stinkin' Jets as Tua makes NFL debut: Yes I said hot. Miami has now strung together four strong efforts in a row, winning big in Jacksonville, fighting nobly in a loss to unbeaten Seattle, that unexpected easy rout at San Fran, and now Sunday's 24-0 waltz past the Jets. Even better than the shutout: Tua Tagovailoa debuts late, enters to an ovation, goes 2-for-2.

2. HURRICANES: UM bounces back from Clemson debacle, handles Pitt: The Canes shed last week's flat 42-17 loss to Clemson and handled Pitt at home Saturday, 31-19, behind solid defense and D'Eriq King's four TD passes. Win elevated UM two spots to No. 11 in polls. The ACC tests keep coming next week at home vs. Virginia in prime time, with now 4-1 Miami ill-affording a second conference loss if it stills hopes to reach ACC title game.

3. MLB: It's a Rays-Dodgers World Series!: Tampa Bay Rays took ALCS Game 7 Saturday over the Houston Cheatin' Astros, while Los Angeles Dodgers pushed NLCS to a Sunday Game 7 vs. Atlanta and won. Braves had earlier eliminated Marlins in NL Division Series to end Miami's first postseason in 17 years. The two leagues' best-record teams advance in an LA-Tampa World Series starting Tuesday.

4. COLLEGE FOOTBALL: Tide beats Dawgs, FSU stuns UNC: No. 2 Alabama beat No. 3 Georgia 41-24 Saturday, with Nick Saban back on the sideline after getting COVID. Shocker of the day: Florida State's 31-28 win over No. 5 North Carolina. LSU at No. 10 Florida was postponed after Gators' COVID outbreak. UF coach Dan Mullen also tested positive -- the same guy who said he wanted a packed stadium. 

5. PANTHERS: Ouch! Cats taking hits in free agency: Ottawa poached steady Florida scorer Evgenii Dadonov in free agency, signing him to a three-year, $15 million deal after three straight seasons of 25-plus goals. Cats now brace to lose Mike Hoffman, who had 29 goals last season. Panthers' free-agent gains have been more modest, with defenseman Radko Gudas and forwards Alexander Wennberg and Vinnie Hinostroza fronting a low-watt bunch.

6. MARLINS: Fish parting with longtime exec Michael Hill: The timing is odd, but Marlins CEO Derek Jeter announced Sunday the club will not renew the contract of longtime president of baseball operations Michael Hill. Comes after the club's first winning season in nine years and first postseason trip since 2003. 

7. INTER MIAMI: Expansion team falls at Montreal: Inter Miami, in this strangest of MLS expansion seasons, is now 5-11-3 after Wednesday's 1-1- draw with Atlanta and then Saturday's 2-1 loss at Montreal. Miami is a credible 5-6-3 after an 0-5 start. Next: Home in Fort Lauderdale vs. budding rival Orlando City next Saturday.

8. HEAT: Miami approaches 2020 offseason mostly girding for '21: After an unexpected run to the NBA Finals and eventual loss to LeBron' champion Lakers, expect Miami's 2020 offseason priority to be re-signing pending free agents Goran Dragic and Jae Crowder, then adding perhaps a second-tier, rotation-type FA from a modest class. The larger goal: Enough cap-space to whale hunt when the monster free agents come around in '21. Can you say Giannis Antetokounmpo? No, I'm serious. I mean, can you pronounce it?  

9. SOCCER: UEFA Champions League group play at hand: Group-stage play begins this Tuesday, running into early December. Among the 32 clubs Bayern Munich and Manchester City are co-favorites at most books just head of Liverpool. Cristiano Ronaldo tested positive for COVID, but Juventus are hopeful Ronaldo will be available for its Champions League match vs. Barcelona and old rival Lionel Messi on October 28.

10. COLLEGE BASKETBALL: Hurricanes, others open preseason practice: Jim Larranaga's Miami men, Katie Meier's Canes women and the rest of college basketball began preseason practice this week toward a delayed November 25 planned start to the season. But nothing is the same due to COVID. Last season ended with a canceled March Madness. This one began with no Midnight Madness first practices in packed gyms.

Missing the HB10 cut: It was announced this week the NFL is canceling this season's Pro Bowl game for the first time since 1949. Fans nationwide reacted with yawning indifference. The NFL said the Pro Bowl would return after missing just this one. "No that really isn't necessary," said fans in a chorus ..... The Mumbai Indians won the toss today and elected to bat first against the Kings XI Punjab ..... The Lakers' championship celebration in L.A. included some rowdiness, a few fires and not much attention to social distancing. Or, did that go without saying? ..... Teofimo Lopez at age 23 became youngest undisputed lightweight champion by dethroning Vasiliy Lomachenko in Las Vegas Saturday night. People enthralled by lightweight boxing might care, if there are such folks out there ..... The Greg Cote Show podcast's new Episode 33 drops Monday! ..... Update: Countdown now 2,080 days (give or take) until Miami hosts its first match in soccer's 2026 World Cup. Too soon for a "U-S-A!" chant?

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

THE ARCHIVES:

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

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

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

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

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

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

October 12, 2020

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

HOT BUTTON TOP 10 (OCTOBER 11-12): WHAT SOUTH FLORIDA SPORTS FANS ARE TALKING ABOUT: Our blog-exclusive Sunday-into-Monday feature is part week-in-review, part look-ahead. Hot Button means what's on our minds, locally and nationally, from a Miami perspective, as the sports week just past pivots to the week ahead. This week's HB10:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

THE ARCHIVES:

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

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

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

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

October 05, 2020

Latest Hot Button Top 10 (updated): Fish fly into NLDS, Heat alive!, UM-Clemson on deck, Fins-Seattle jostle for top of marquee; plus new Greg Cote Show podcast out now & more

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

1) It's MONDAY, OCTOBER 5. The Greg Cote Show podcast is now separately on Twitter and Instagram. Follow us on both! 2) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Miracle Marlins advance to NLDS, depleted Heat fall to 0-2 in NBA Finals, Collball Saturday, Greg Cote Show podcast Episode 30 & more. 2) Join us on Twitter and Instagram.

FishPlayoffs! Miracle Marlins -- the 'Miami Bottom Feeders' -- advance to NLDS: Column off NLWC-clinching Game 2 win over Cubs: Miracle Marlins Advance in NL Playoffs. Column off Game 1: Seventeen Years Out of Playoffs, Marlins Return in Style. Game 1 of best-of-5 NLDS vs. Braves begins Tuesday in Houston.

HeatPlayoffs! They're alive! Butler leads Heat to Game 3 win over Lakers: Column off Sunday's had-to-have-it Game 3 win: Jimmy Butler Gives Heat New Life Vs. Lakers in NBA Finals. Column off Game 2: NBA Finals Slipping Away From Miami as Heat Lose Again. Column off Game 1: Riley Wants Heat to Beat LeBron So Bad, But Opening Loss a Reality Check. Game 3 of best-of-7 is Sunday night in Orlando bubble.

SeamiaG4: SEATTLE 31, @DOLPHINS 23: TWO TURNOVERS, TOO MUCH RUSS, BAD D SINK MIAMI: Original post: It’s a rare treat awaiting those brave Dolfans who venture through the pandemic to Hard Rock Stadium on Sunday. Hall of Fame-headed Russell Wilson is making only his second appearance here and first since his 2012 rookie season. And he arrives with 14 TD passes, a record through three games, and early MVP Fitz Russfront-runner status as the NFL season reaches its quarter mark. Chef Russ is one reason why King Sport has set a three-week record for most TDs (281) and points scored (2,446). Wilson looks unstoppable, all the more so Sunday with the Fins maybe missing CB Byron Jones (again). But here’s the thing. Ryan Fitzpatrick is just as well-armed for an airborne shootout, with Seattle’s pass defense allowing a gargantuan, absurd 430.7 yards per game. No wonder the over/under on total points is a fat 54. The number for combined passing yards might catapult over 600. Punters, take the day off. Defensive coordinators, cover your eyes. Miami comes in rested after playing last Thursday, while the Seahawks’ injury list is crowded. Then again, Seattle is on a 9-0 run playing in the Eastern time zone. I like Miami getting six points, but, did I mention Russell Wilson? Despite his own sieve of a pass defense, he has been way too good to not outscore the Dolphins. My pick: Seahawks (-6) over Dolphins, 34-30. Visit NFL Week 4 Gems to see this capsule online and for all of our other latest previews and picks.

HOT BUTTON TOP 10 (OCTOBER 4-5): WHAT SOUTH FLORIDA SPORTS FANS ARE TALKING ABOUT: Our blog-exclusive Sunday-into-Monday feature is part week-in-review, part look-ahead. Hot Button means what's on our minds, locally and nationally, from a Miami perspective, as the sports week just past pivots to the week ahead. This week's HB10:

HButton1. MARLINS: Miracle 'Miami Bottom Feeders' advance to NLDS!: As MLB postseason's division round begins today and Tuesday, the underdog Marlins, not expected to be anywhere near the playoffs, are calling themselves the 'Miami Bottom Feeders' in their first postseason in 17 years. They just swept the Cubs in the best-of-3 NLWC with Friday's Sixto Sanchez-fueled 2-0 win. Now they're on to the NLDS vs. the Braves in Houston. The best-of-5 series begins Tuesday. Fish are now 7-for-7 as a franchise in all-time playoff series. Amazin'!

2. HEAT: Butler's huge Game 3 gives Miami new life in NBA Finals: The 18- and 10-point losses and injuries to Bam Adebayo and Goran Dragic had Miami staring at a 3-0 hole. Jimmy Butler to the rescue! Butler's 40-point triple-double last night led a had-to-have-it 115-104 win to draw Miami within 2-1 entering Game 4 of the best-of-7 Tuesday night. Heat's first championship in 2006 happened after Miami trailed 2-0 in Finals. Can history repeat?

3. DOLPHINS: Russell Wilson lifts Seattle over host Miami: Fins dominated Jacksonville last Thursday but even with extra time to prepare were six-point home 'dogs to unbeaten Seattle and Russell Wilson, whose 14 TD passes in three games were the most ever. Well, Russ threw for 360 yards Sunday to beat the Fins 31-23. Too much Russ, two Ryan Fitzpatrick picks, too many red-zone fizzles and field goal-settling and bad D late spelled the result.

4. HURRICANES: Countdown: 5 days 'til UM visits Clemson. Uh oh: Miami is ranked No. 7 and 3-0 after crushing FSU last Thursday. Clemson is No. 1 and 3-0 after routing Virginia Saturday night. So where's the "uh oh" come in? Canes don't have a great track record recently with extra time to prepare. And UM has dropped its past two games against Clemson by 38-3 (2017 ACC Championship Game) and 58-0 (2015). New team, new time? We'll see.

5. NFL: Two Week 4 games disrupted by COVID test-positives: Sunday's Pittsburgh at Tennessee game was postponed to October 25 after several Titans players tested positive for COVID-19. Saturday it was reported Patriots QB Cam Newton has tested positive and will miss this week's Chiefs. A test positive on both teams will delay that game to Monday or Tuesday, said the NFL. The virus caused the preseason to be canceled and has resulted in home stadiums with no fans or a limited number, but this, in Week 4, is the first disruption of the regular season schedule.

6. TENNIS: Nadal on track in French Open; Halep, Serena out: Favorite Rafael Nadal is on track at the major's midpoint in Paris. The big news: On the women's side, favorite Simona Halep was ousted Saturday, routed by little known Iga Swiatek, 19, of Poland, and Serena Williams earlier was knocked out by an Achilles injury and said she's likely done for the year. The question of Serena is, at age 39, her last major win in 2017, could done for the year mean done for the career?

7. INTER MIAMI: Higuain has assist but expansion team falls again: Inter Miami 3-10-2 after a 3-2 home loss Saturday night to New York City FC. Lewis Morgan scored both of Miami's goals. The rookie team is a respectable 3-5-2 since an 0-5 start. New star Gonzalo Higuain, the Argentine forward, still is looking for his first MLS goal two matches in, but had an assist Saturday. In his eventful Miami debut he'd missed a penalty kick and sent a bicycle-kick shot off the post. Miami's next match is Wednesday at New York Red Bulls.  

8. PANTHERS: NHL Draft this week will be first for new Florida GM: The NHL Draft, to be held virtually, is Tuesday (first round) and Wednesday (two through seven), and it'll be the first for new Florida general manager Bill Zito. Panthers likely would prefer to target a defenseman with top pick, but if none is deemed worthy of the 12th overall selection they may go for a scorer. Right wing Jack Quinn of Ottawa in the OHL has been mentioned for the Cats in mocks.

9. HORSE RACING: Surprise in Preakness Stakes ends Triple Crown season: Kentucky Derby winner Authentic at 9-5 was favored to win Saturday's Preakness Stakes but was beaten out by unheralded Swiss Skydiver in the last race of a Triple Crown turned upside down by the pandemic. Belmont winner Tiz the Law did not run at Pimlico. Swiss Skydiver is only the sixth filly and first since 2009 to win the Preakness.

10. WNBA: Bird has Seattle flying in WNBA Finals: Seattle Storm lead Las Vegas Aces 2-0 and can close out the best-of-5 Finals Tuesday night, after Sunday's win. Seattle, led by Breanna Stewart and especially Sue Bird, seeks its fourth league title. Vegas, led by 2020 league MVP A'ja Wilson, is after its first.

Missing the HB10 cut: UEFA Champions League begins group-stage play October 20. Notable from the draw: Megastars Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo will square off in UCL group play for first time, with Barcelona and Juventus both drawn into Group G ..... No. 3 Florida Gators handled South Carolina 38-24 Saturday. 4-Georgia beat 7-Auburn. Most-notable other Top 25 losses were by 9-Texas and 11-UCF ..... Doc Rivers didn't have time to collect an unemployment check. The fired L.A. Clippers coach signed a five-year deal with the Philadelphia 76ers ..... NASCAR playoffs continue at Talladega Sunday. Meantime the sport promised major changes in its 2021 schedule and delivered, announcing six road courses, new stops in Austin and Nashville, and NASCAR's first dirt race in the Cup Series since 1970 ..... The San Diego Loyal soccer club, leading 3-1, walked off field and forfeited its USL Championship match vs. Phoenix Rising to protest a homophobic slur directed at openly gay Loyal player Collin Martin. Hmm. Seems like beating the homophobe's team might have been its own statement, no? ..... Tampa Bay Lightning celebrated their second Stanley Cup with a boat parade and ceremony at Raymond James Stadium with a capped attendance of 16,000 fans ..... R.I.P., Bob Gibson ..... The Greg Cote Show podcast's new Episode 31 drops Monday! ..... Update: Countdown now 2,094 days (give or take) until Miami hosts its first match in soccer's 2026 World Cup. Hope stadiums will be full again by then.

CoteshowGREG COTE SHOW PODCAST: NEW EPISODE 31 OUT NOW!: Our Miami Herald podcast, The Greg Cote Show With Greg Cote, debuted in March and new Episode 31 is out now! A new pod drops every Monday morning on Apple, Spotify, Google, Stitcher, Megaphone, iHeart -- wherever you pod, and of course at MiamiHerald.com. Find all 31 we've done RIGHT HERE for free. Please listen, subscribe, rate and review. In new Ep31 we welcome in guest Billy Gil from the Le Batard Show to talk Miracle Marlins and other fun stuff. New Mount Gregmore, too -- the N's. Hear all that and more on the new Greg Cote Show podcast!

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

THE ARCHIVES:

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

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

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

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

September 28, 2020

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

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

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

Our latest NFL picks: NFL Week 3 Gems.

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

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

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

HOT BUTTON TOP 10 (SEPTEMBER 27-28): WHAT SOUTH FLORIDA SPORTS FANS ARE TALKING ABOUT: Our blog-exclusive Sunday-into-Monday feature is part week-in-review, part look-ahead. Hot Button means what's on our minds, locally and nationally, from a Miami perspective, as the sports week just past pivots to the week ahead. This week's HB10:

HButton

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

THE ARCHIVES:

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

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

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

August 17, 2020

Latest Hot Button Top 10 (updated): Marlins back home, college football chaos, Heat playoffs ... see who's No. 1 and what else falls where this week; plus Greg Cote Show podcast Episode 24, links to newest columns & more

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

1) It's MONDAY, AUGUST 17. The Greg Cote Show podcast is now separately on Twitter and Instagram. Follow us on both! 2) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Fractured college football mirrors America's divide on pandemic, Big Ten and Pac-12 set a moral compass, On Panthers moving on from GM Tallon, Marlins home opener (finally!), Greg Cote Show podcast new Episode 24 & more. 3) Join us on Twitter and Instagram.

CoteshowGREG COTE SHOW PODCAST: A WEEK OFF, THEN NEW EPISODE 25!: Our Miami Herald podcast, "The Greg Cote Show With Greg Cote," debuted in March and Episode 24 is out now. After a week off (no new episode Monday), we'll celebrate our silver podiversary with Ep25 on August 24. New episodes drop Monday mornings on Apple, Spotify, Google, Stitcher, Megaphone, iHeart or wherever you pod, and of course at MiamiHerald.com. Find all 24 we've done so far RIGHT HERE. Free! No paywall! Please listen, subscribe, rate and review. In Episode 24 Greg reveals his likes and dislikes about being on Le Batard Show. Also, hear from a screenwriter with a movie on Netflix who also happens to be running for Broward County supervisor of elections. And a guy who wrote a book about baseball cards ... and a double dose of Mount Gregmore (G's)! All that and more in new Ep24! 

Our most recent columns:

For Marlins, A Home Opener -- And First Place -- In Mid-August

Also: Fractured College Football Mirrors America's Divide On How to Handle a Pandemic / Fall Without Football: Big Ten, Pac-12 Set Moral Compass for NFL, Others to Follow / As Panthers Move on From Tallon, Who's Next Miami Team Executive on Hot Seat? / 'Perfect Storm For Virus Transmission': Why Football Is Struggling to Lift Off and Here's Why Nobody Should Rule Out Heat Reaching NBA Finals

HOT BUTTON TOP 10 (AUGUST 16-17): WHAT SOUTH FLORIDA SPORTS FANS ARE TALKING ABOUT: Our blog-exclusive Sunday-into-Monday feature is part week-in-review, part look-ahead. Hot Button means what's on our minds, locally and nationally, from a Miami perspective, as the sports week just past pivots to the week ahead. This week's HB10:

HButton1. MARLINS: Hear ye, hear ye! An actual game actually happened in Miami!: For the first time in 156 days, since the coronavirus pandemic shut down sports on March 11, an actual game happened in South Florida -- the Marlins' long-delayed home opener Friday night, albeit sans fans. The Heat, Panthers and Inter Inter Miami have been playing elsewhere; this was the first time in just over five months a local team had played an actual home game. Seven-game Fish homestand vs. Braves and Mets continued Sunday with Marlins wearing throwback Miami Giants uniforms (a 1930s semipro team) in honor of 100th anniversary of Negro Leagues. Atlanta won to take two of three.

2. COLLEGE FOOTBALL: Seismic! Big Ten, Pac-12 to skip 2020 season: In the biggest sports story of the pandemic since the cancellation of March Madness, two of the Power 5 football conferences, the Big Ten and Pac-12, announced they would not play in 2020 due to COVID-19 concerns. They're hoping to play in spring of '21 instead. However, the SEC, Big 12 and ACC/Miami Hurricanes plan as of now to play this fall as scheduled. Miami is to open September 10 at home vs. UAB, though likely without fans or with a very limited number.

3. HEAT: Playoffs! Miami-Indiana best-of-7 series starts Tuesday: NBA playoffs start Monday and Heat-Pacers first-round series begins Tuesday, all in the Orlando bubble. Miami finished only 3-5 in the eight-game regular season restart, including a split of two games with the Pacers. Derrick Jones Jr. left on a stretcher Friday with a "neck sprain."

4. INTER MIAMI: Team announces major signing as MLS resumption nears: Portland Timbers beat Orlando City 2-1 to win the MLS is Back tournament, now the league's regular season has resumed. Expansion team Inter Miami returns to play next Saturday, August 22, vs. Orlando in its temporary stadium in Fort Lauderdale -- its first-ever home game, although sans fans. Miami is 0-5 in its rookie year but just signed French international midfielder and former Juventus star Blaise Matuidi, 33, who helped France win the 2018 World Cup. Meantime speculation persists that David Beckham's Miami is hot after Barcelona striker Luis Suarez.

5. DOLPHINS: Club to honor Shula with jersey patch this season: Miami would be one game into its exhibition schedule had the whole preseason not been canceled. Now, with the September 13 season opener at New England less than a month away, Dolphins announced players would wear a 'Shula/347' jersey patch this season to honor the late Don Shula. This will be first time club has had a uniform patch to honor an individual.

6. PANTHERS: Cats get unlucky in NHL draft lottery: NHL Stanley Cup playoffs are underway, as Florida continues its search to replace general manager Dale Tallon, sacked after a play-in series fizzle vs. Islanders. (Might former Cat Scott Mellanby be a candidate?) Meantime Panthers got no luck in NHL draft lottery. Had a 12.5 percent shot at the overall No. 1 pick but will select 12th instead. Draft, delayed from June, is scheduled to be done virtually October 9–10.

7. SOCCER: UEFA Champions League semifinals are set: UEFA Champions League being held in Portugal is down to its semifinals. It'll be Paris-St. Germain vs. Leipzig on Tuesday, and Bayern Munich vs. Lyon -- which stunned Manchester City 3-1 on Saturday. Semifinal winners will meet for the European crown on August 23, with Bayern now a stout favorite.

8. HIGH SCHOOLS: FHSAA green lights fall sports: The FHSAA, governing body for Florida prep sports, voted 11-5 to allow fall sports including football to go on beginning later this month despite the pandemic hitting this state harder than most. To the five adults in that room, thank you for trying, at least.

9. UFC: Miocic pummels Cormier into retirement: Stipe Miocic beat Daniel Cormier in a unanimous decision in UFC 252 Saturday night in Vegas to cement his status as the sport's heavyweight G.O.A.T. The loss pushed Cormier to say he's retiring. Over/under on his coming out of retirement: Three months.

10. HORSE RACING: Delayed Kentucky Derby to allow some fans: The 146th Kentucky Derby, delayed by the coronavirus from early May until September 5, plans to allow some 23,000 spectators, or 14 percent of capacity. Meanwhile activists are calling for the race day to be cancelled and accuse police of cracking down on social-justice protests to put a happy face on Louisville as the race nears.

Missing the HB10 cut: R.I.P., Aubrey Hill. FIU''s wide receivers coach, 48, passed away on Sunday after a long battle with cancer ..... The Miami Hurricanes impressed in a football scrimmage Sunday night,with D'Eriq King throwing for four TDs. That was according to UM. Since no media were there to see it, did it really happen? ..... The Masters at Augusta, delayed by the pandemic this year from the spring to November 12-15, announced it would go on with no spectators allowed at the course ..... Along with some 70 players who have opted out of the coming season (including Dolphins Albert Wilson and Allen Hurns), at least seven NFL game officials have opted out, ESPN reported. Five are on-field officials and two are replay-booth guys ..... "TUA," a documentary on the Dolphins' rookie quarterback Tagovailoa (unless by some wild coincidence somebody else goes by Tua), premieres on Sunday, September 6 on Fox ..... The Greg Cote Show podcast will return August 24 with silver pod-iversary Episode 25 after a week off ..... Update: Countdown now 2,143 days (give or take) until Miami hosts its first match in soccer's 2026 World Cup, always presuming the world still exists at that point.

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

THE COTE ARCHIVES:

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

Other most recent columns: Marlins and Dolphins, In a Race For Relevance, Offer Hope At a Time We Need That / When Will Dolphins Unleash Tua? Exploring the Timetable as Rookies Report / Sports Resume, But Major Concerns Complicate Opening of Football Training Camps / He Made a Mistake, But Miami Knows Who Dwyane Wade Is And Knows It By Heart / Marlins Captain Miguel Rojas On Pandemic And Playoffs As Baseball Returns / Rest In Pieces, Redskins. Now Here Are Sports' Other Suspect Nicknames / 'Redskins Is Racist Nickname Based On a Lie. Time For It to Disappear / Money Or Health? NFL and Major College Football Face A Decision / Tough Times All Around, But Rise Of Miami Sports Offers Hope / The Face Of Miami Sports in 2020: Our Top 20 And Who's No.1 / Time to Abort Season Restarts and Call Off Sports For Rest Of 2020 / Uh-oh. Cam Newton means Belichick and Patriots Are Back / Saving the National Anthem From Sporting-Event Extinction / Baseball Joins In With Restart Plan. But Is Sports Walking Into a Giant Mess? / Noose Left For NASCAR's Bubba Wallace's Only Grows Resolve to End Racial Hatred / and Team That Signs Kaepernick Will Be Champions Of the Street

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

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

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

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

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

August 15, 2020

Marlins' home opener: Empty stadium, but full of promise. New column; plus Fractured college football mirrors U.S. divide on handling pandemic, Big Ten and Pac-12 set moral compass, on Panthers/Tallon, Greg Cote Show podcast Episode 24 out now & more

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

1) It's SATURDAY, AUGUST 15. Our Greg Cote Show podcast is now separately on Twitter and Instagram. Follow us on both! 2) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Hot Button Top 10, Greg Cote Show podcast new Episode 24 & more. 3) Join us on Twitter and Instagram.

CoteshowGREG COTE SHOW PODCAST: NEW EPISODE 24 OUT NOW!: Our Miami Herald podcast, "The Greg Cote Show With Greg Cote," debuted in March and new Episode 24 is out now! A new episode drops every Monday morning on Apple, Spotify, Google, Stitcher, Megaphone, iHeart or wherever you do your podding, and of course at MiamiHerald.com. Find all 24 we've done so far RIGHT HERE. Free! No paywall! Please listen, subscribe, rate and review. In Episode 24 Greg discusses his likes and dislikes about being on the Le Batard Show. Also, hear from a screenwriter with a movie on Netflix who also happens to be running for Broward County supervisor of elections. And: A guy who wrote a book about baseball cards ... and a double dose of Mount Gregmore (G's)! Hear all that and more now in new Ep24! 

FOR MARLINS, A HOME OPENER -- AND FIRST PLACE -- IN MID-AUGUST. CAN THIS YEAR GET ANY WEIRDER?: [From Marlin s Park and last night's 8-2 win over Atlanta in Miami's much-delayed home opener]: Oh my how the Miami Marlins tried. Did everything they could to make their much-delayed first home game of the season Friday night feel special. Only in Marlinsbaseball does Opening Day get capital letters, and so for their return to Marlins Park — finally! — they hung red, white and blue bunting and even called the full team to the baseline for pregame introductions. Like it was April. Like everything was the same. When absolutely nothing is. The jumbo video screens were lit and the PA announcer enthusiastically called out the Marlins to a sea of 37,000 empty blue seats. Manager Don Mattingly has been in 31 big-league home openers as player, coach or manager, and he wasn’t even going to try to pretend. "I know it’s a home opener, but it doesn’t feel like much of one," said Donnie Baseball via a remote Zoom hookup, de rigeur now for coach and athlete interaction with media. "It’s another game, honestly. It ends up being a regular game." Well, not that, either, though. Not in a time when hardly anything in 2020 is regular, in sports or in life. That includes the Marlins themselves, more happily for Mattingly. His team unexpectedly held onto first place in the NL East with an 8-2 home-opening win led by Pablo Lopez’s eight-strikeout, no-walks gem. One month ago Lopez, 24, was grieving the sudden death of his father to a heart attack. Now he’s a big reason why Miami is an unlikely feelgood story in MLB. (Pictured: Lopez and first baseman Jesus Aguilar during the game]. "We were eager and excited to come home," Lopez said. "A really fun game all around." Clutch hitting, speed, great base running including another steal of home, a pair of highlight-reel defensive plays in left field by Matt Joyce -- all of that happened on a night that would have set the ballpark rocking, had there been fans in it. "A well-rounded game for us," Mattingly understated it afterward. "Kind of got contributions from all over the place. Speed is a difficult thing to deal with. The bats are coming alive." (Can it be real? The Marlins look good). The Fish became the first South Florida pro team in more than five months — in 156 days, since March 11 — to play a home game that actually was at home, following a 24-day, 12-game road trip to begin the delayed MLB season. It was the latest home opener by any team in the sport’s 144-year history. For my full latest column on a night both eerie and exhilarating, please visit For Marlins, A Home Opener -- And First Place -- In Mid-August.

FRACTURED COLLEGE FOOTBALL MIRRORS AMERICA'S DEEP DIVIDE ON HOW TO HANDLE A PANDEMIC: Who is in charge here? Anyone? We haven’t seen this before. Not at any time, in any major sport. It has elements of anarchy. Mutiny. Insanity, even. Hello, NCAA? Anybody home? Like pandemic-plagued 2020 itself, what we see happening in college football Collballahead of this fractured 2020 season is unprecedented. Wait. No. There was the Spanish Flu of 1918 as a pandemic precedent. But in terms of sports? Nope. This is a first. College football always has been an entity of many conferences at different levels, but with a cohesion to it. One sport under one umbrella, under one governing body. Now we see a sport splintered, going in starkly different directions. The Power 5 Big Ten and Pac-12 conferences announcing Tuesday they would not play football in 2020 was the biggest sports headline of this coronavirus/COVID-19 pandemic. Other smaller conferences and individual colleges already had done so. Now the onus is on the sport’s three other major leagues — Southeastern Conference, Atlantic Coast Conference and Big 12 — to follow the path of safety first, of prudent caution, or be seen as recklessly putting revenue over the health of their student-athletes. And all indications are they will follow the money, of course. But even that is a crapshoot in a fluid time of uncertainty. "We’re going forward. The Big 12, SEC and ACC have made their decision," as director of athletics Blake James of the ACC’s Miami Hurricanes told us Wednesday. "But we can’t say anything with certainty. Can anything change? Without a doubt." College football's divide on whether to play in 2020 mirrors America's division on how best to handle a pandemic. To read our full recent column, please visit Fractured College Football Mirrors America's Divide On How to Handle a Pandemic.

FALL WITHOUT FOOTBALL: BIG TEN, PAC-12 SET MORAL COMPASS FOR NFL, OTHER SCHOOLS TO FOLLOWSomething amazing and nearly unimaginable is happening. Major college sports is doing the right thing. Not the popular thing. Not the best thing for its financial bottom line. But the right thing. If reports are true the Big Ten and Pac-12, major Power 5 Bigpacconferences, will not play college football in the fall of 2020. Reports are official announcements from both leagues are expected Tuesday. The much smaller Ivy League and Centennial Conference previously had opted out of football season. The Mid-American Conference joined them to become the first FBS-level league to do so. But the Big Ten and Pac-12 opting out takes this to a whole new level. This is the biggest news in sports since the coronavirus/COVID-19 pandemic turned everything upside down exactly five months ago. It is a monumental development because it a powerful message that our government — federal, state and local — should hear and heed: That in the ongoing national struggle to balance health and economic concerns, there should be no real debate. Lives are more important than dollars. The adults in the room, in this case Big Ten and Pac-12 presidents, commissioners and athletic directors, are saying as much, loudly, on behalf of their student-athletes. They are saying so even knowing acutely that football is the big dog on campus producing the revenue that sustains entire athletic programs. This also is a seismic development for what it may portend, for the huge domino that may have just tipped. Because, now, how can the Southeastern Conference, the Big 12 and the University of Miami’s Atlantic Coast Conference go on with their seasons as planned? How reckless will they seem, putting money ahead of safety, now that the Big Ten and Pac-12 have taken hold of sports’ moral compass? Same with the mighty NFL. To read this full recent column, please visit Fall Without Football: Big Ten, Pac-12 Set Moral Compass for NFL, Others to Follow.

AS FLORIDA PANTHERS MOVE ON FROM GM TALLON, WHO'S NEXT MIAMI TEAM EXECUTIVE FACING HOT SEAT?: When you don’t know what else to do, you fire somebody. When you’re out of answers and excuses, fire somebody. This is the way it works in big-time sports. Coaches and team executives are not often let go based on incompetence, but rather because the team owner Tallonran out of patience, felt pressure and needed a fall guy. Needed a bold stroke to convey action, perhaps to divert attention from his own inability to find a winning combination. Change merely for the sake of change is sometimes enough, and it erased Dale Tallon from the South Florida sports landscape on Monday. The Florida Panthers’ longtime general manager — 10 years is a lifetime in sports — leaves the hockey club by what is being called a "mutual agreement," because a respected 69-year-old NHL lifer deserves that, at least. Plainly, his contract expired when this season did and would not be renewed. It is understandable, this move. I am sorry to see it, and to say, but it is justifiable. Said team owner Vincent Viola: "When we purchased the Panthers in 2013 we did so with a singular goal, to win a Stanley Cup. We have not seen our efforts come to fruition." Tallon thanked fans and Viola in a parting statement issued through the club, but he is hurting. I texted Dale on Monday to ask if we might speak. He replied and, politely, wrote, "I will hold off at this time." Ironically, Tallon’s own successes as a GM raised the bar that ultimately caused his sacking. His Cats made a cannonball splash during the past offseason in hiring star coach Joel Quenneville (pictured with Tallon) and top free agent goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky. The moves screamed win-now-or-else. Let Tallon’s departure be a warning that applies elsewhere in this market to others who are feeling job pressure, should be, or might be soon. Because not many get the 10 years Tallon got, and everywhere you look in South Florida — outside of the steadily competitive and stable Miami Heat — you see potential change. For my full recent column, including who I see as the next Miami team executive to feel pressure, please visit As Panthers Move on From Tallon, Who's Next Miami Team Executive on Hot Seat?

Our two most recent previous columns: 'Perfect Storm For Virus Transmission': Why Football Is Struggling to Lift Off and Here's Why Nobody Should Rule Out Heat Reaching NBA Finals.

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

THE COTE ARCHIVES:

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

Other most recent columns: Marlins and Dolphins, In a Race For Relevance, Offer Hope At a Time We Need That / When Will Dolphins Unleash Tua? Exploring the Timetable as Rookies Report / Sports Resume, But Major Concerns Complicate Opening of Football Training Camps / He Made a Mistake, But Miami Knows Who Dwyane Wade Is And Knows It By Heart / Marlins Captain Miguel Rojas On Pandemic And Playoffs As Baseball Returns / Rest In Pieces, Redskins. Now Here Are Sports' Other Suspect Nicknames / 'Redskins Is Racist Nickname Based On a Lie. Time For It to Disappear / Money Or Health? NFL and Major College Football Face A Decision / Tough Times All Around, But Rise Of Miami Sports Offers Hope / The Face Of Miami Sports in 2020: Our Top 20 And Who's No.1 / Time to Abort Season Restarts and Call Off Sports For Rest Of 2020 / Uh-oh. Cam Newton means Belichick and Patriots Are Back / Saving the National Anthem From Sporting-Event Extinction / Baseball Joins In With Restart Plan. But Is Sports Walking Into a Giant Mess? / Noose Left For NASCAR's Bubba Wallace's Only Grows Resolve to End Racial Hatred / and Team That Signs Kaepernick Will Be Champions Of the Street

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

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

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

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

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