November 09, 2020

Chris Cote talks about his ESPN layoff from the Le Batard Show in the new Greg Cote Show podcast, out now; plus Tua leads Dolphins' 4th straight win, latest Hot Button Top 10 (updated) & more

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

1) It's MONDAY, NOVEMBER 9. For Le Batard Show faithful: 2) The Greg Cote Show podcast is now separately on Twitter and Instagram. Join us on both! 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Hurricanes-N.C. State preview and pick, FIU's Butch Davis on his most trying season, NFL Week 9 picks, Greg Cote Show podcast Episode 35 & more. 4) Join me on Twitter and Instagram.

CoteshowGREG COTE SHOW PODCAST: CHRIS DISCUSSES ESPN LAYOFFIN NEW EPISODE OUT NOW: Our Miami Herald podcast debuted in March and the new Episode 36 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 36 we've done so far RIGHT HERE for free. Please listen, subscribe, rate and review. In an emotional new Ep36 Chris Cote discusses his layoff from ESPN, which he announced on Twitter Sunday evening. Chris and I also talk Tua and Dolphins, a smidgen of politics and bring you a new Mount Gregmore -- but it's the emotional discussion of the layoff that will be must-listen, especially for fans of the Dan Le Batard Show with Stugotz. Hear all that and more on the latest Greg Cote Show podcast. Go HERE for the Miami Herald's story on the layoff.

Our Hurricanes-N.C. State column: Canes Keep Beating Teams They Should (If Barely). Other most recent stuff: 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 / and Fans of ESPN's Dan Le Batard Show With Stugotz Should Prepare For Another Change.

TuakylerG8: DOLPHINS 34, @ARIZONA 31: MIAMI COLLECTS 4TH STRAIGHT WIN IN TUA'S ROAD DEBUT!: Original post: In the desert at 4:25 p.m. Sunday Miami will try to do something the franchise hasn't accomplished since 2016: Win four games in a row. (It was six straight in '16, when the Dolphins last made the playoffs). Whether they can do it will be disproportionately all about Tua Tagovailoa. After not needing much from him in his first start -- last Miaariweek's defense-driven home upset of the Rams (an upset I called, btw -- more will likely be required of the rookie quarterback Sunday in his first road start, vs. a good team coming off a bye. Miami coach Brian Flores refuted the noisy speculation he was "auditioning" Tua for a later trade in case Miami were to high-draft yet another QB in 2021 with the pick it will have from Houston, but such stuff is better quieted with results than with coachspeak. Will Tagovailoa be up to hanging tough in what could be a shootout if Kyler Murray and DeAndre Hopkins can unlock Miami’s hugely improved D? (The two young QBs, dueling No. 1s, are pictured). Will the Fins’ minor trade-deadline deal to acquire RB DeAndre Washington have any impact with leading rusher Myles Gaskin out injured? Both teams have three-game winning streaks and are comparable in most major measurements including scoring, defense and point differential. That the Cardbirds and Fins rarely meet (last in 2016) adds yet another layer making this one a tough call. There is little cause for 'Zona to be favored beyond whatever home-field advantage there still is in a crowd-diminished pandemic. In what feels like closer to a pick-’em game in which no result would surprise, I give the slightest nod to the home team coming off a bye, but like Dolphins to cover. My pick: Arizona (-4 1/2), 23-20. For all of our latest King Sport picks, visit NFL Week 9 Gems.

HOT BUTTON TOP 10 (NOVEMBER 8-9): 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. DOLPHINS: Tua leads Miami to 4th straight win in road debut!: Fins won a fourth straight game (last accomplished by Miami in 2016) out west Sunday, 34-31, at Arizona as rookie QB Tua Tagovailoa passed for 248 yards and two touchdowns in his first start on the road. The Dolphins are angling into playoff contention after five wins in past six games.

2. HURRICANES: No. 11 UM rallies to win at N.C. State: D'Eriq King threw for five touchdowns Friday night to life Miami past host North Carolina State, 44-41, on a night when UM's defense needed all the offense it could get. Canes are now 6-1 and should kinch into the top 10. Canes had been 0-5 under Manny Diaz coming off a bye or with extra time to prepare, so at least that trend has ended.

3. INTER MIAMI: Sunday win lifts expansion Miami into MLS playoffs!: Inter Miami (7-13-3, 24 points) ends its inaugural MLS regular season at home Sunday with a 2-1 victory over Cincinnati -- clinching the 10th and final East seed in the expanded MLS playoffs. Miami's first postseason match will be Friday, November 20 at Nashville.

4. COLLEGE FOOTBALL: Notre Dame, Florida shake up the season: No. 4 Notre Dame beat No. 1 Clemson (sans TrevorLawrence) 47-40 in overtime in South Bend on Saturday, after No. 8 Florida upset Georgia 44-28. The Pac-12 finally starring its season added to the big day in the sport. The new rankings will be interesting. Doubt Clemson will be penalized too harshly.

5. NASCAR: Chase Elliott is crowned season champion in Phoenix: Chase Elliott, 24, topped fellow finalists Denny Hamlin, Brad Keselowski and Joey Logano to become the third-youngest driver to win the NASCAR Cup season championship Sunday in Phoenix. It also was the last ride for retiring Jimmie Johnson, the greatest driver of his generation -- the pandemic short-changing him the sesaon-long victory lap he deserved.

6. GOLF: Long-delayed, The Masters is finally on deck: The first-ever fall Masters, delayed seven months by the pandemic, is this Thursday through Sunday at Augusta, wrapping up the sport's majors season. Bryson Dechambeau is the betting favorite ahead of Jon Rahm, Rory McIlroy, Dustin Johnson and Justin Thomas. Sentimental money bet-up Tiger Woods into a tie for ninth favorite.

7. HEAT: Miami preps for draft, early restart: NBA players union voted to approve a league plan for a December 22 start to the 2020-21 season -- only 72 days after the NBA Finals ended -- and a reduced schedule from 82 to 72 games. Meanwhile the virtual NBA Draft is next week on November 18. Miami selects 20th overall (no second round pick), and ESPN's latest mock draft has Heat taking Alabama point guard Kira Lewis.

8. SOCCER: Four still perfect in Champions League: World club powers Barcelona, Bayern Munich, Liverpool and Manchester City are the only teams a perfect 3-0 at the halfway mark of group-stage play in the UEFA Champions League. The race to the round of 16 continues on November 24.

9. HORSE RACING: Authentic wins Breeders' Cup Classic: Kentucky Derby winner Authentic scored another major 2020 victory Saturday in 37th Breeders' Cup Classic at Keeneland, maybe the sport's biggest day outside of the Triple Crown races. Prerace favorites had been Improbable at 5-2, Belmont Stakes winner Tiz the Law at 3-1 and Maximum Security at 7-2. 

10. POLITICS: If sports took a cue from Donald Trump...: Henceforth in all sports, the official acknowledgement of final results of games will be delayed indefinitely as losing teams file myriad hopeless lawsuits desperately disputing the outcome.

Missing the HB10 cut: NFL fined Las Vegas Raiders $500,000 and a sixth-round draft pick for repeated violations of COVID protocols. Pittsburgh Steelers also were fined ..... College basketball starts November 25 (as the pandemic worsens) and many teams including the Miami Hurricanes still don't have a schedule to announce ..... No punishment for Justin Turner. That's weak, MLB ..... Least surprising sentence ever: ESPN 300 quarterback Shedeur Sanders flipped his commitment from FAU to Jackson State, where dad Deion Sanders is the new coach ..... Alex Cora is back as Red Sox manager after a one-year ban for cheating. Adjusted bromide: 'Cheaters Almost Never Prosper' ..... Seattle QB Russell Wilson has file to trademark the phrase 'Let Russ Cook.' Like anybody wants it? ..... Florida Panthers re-signed defenseman MacKenzie Weegar for three more years ..... The Greg Cote Show podcast's new Episode 36 drops Monday! ..... Update: Countdown now 2,059 days (give or take) until Miami hosts its first match in soccer's 2026 World Cup.

Other most recent columns: Dolphins Defense Makes It Easy For Tua In First NFL Start Drama, Controversy, Torqued-Up Pressure: Welcome to Tua Week In Miami / Turner -- With COVID -- Joining Dodgers Celebration Sadly Fitting End to Season / Dolphins Turning to Tua Now Is Risky -- But Right Move / and Heat, Marlins, Canes -- now Tua. Miserable 2020 Suddenly Great Time To Be Miami Fan.

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

THE ARCHIVES:

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

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

Select other 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: TwitterInstagramFacebookColumnsPodcastPodcast on TwitterPodcast on InstagramLeBatard Show. Book: Fins At 50. Songs: Letting Go (audio) and The Ballad Of 1440 (video).

November 05, 2020

Stop the silly noise! Give Dolphins' Tua time and fair chance. New column; plus change coming to Le Batard Show, our Tua tribute song in new Greg Cote Show podcast, NFL Week 8 Pix 'n Fantasy results, Election Night in America & more

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

1) It's THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 5. For Le Batard Show faithful: Fans of ESPN's Dan Le Batard Show With Stugotz Should Prepare For Another Change. 2) The Greg Cote Show podcast is now separately on Twitter and Instagram. Join us on both! 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Tua debuts as starter in Dolphins win, Hot Button Top 10, Greg Cote Show podcast new Episode 35 & more. 4) Join me on Twitter and Instagram.

"The presidential candidate who this morning trails in both electoral votes and in the popular vote -- he's the one who prematurely declared victory last night. Or, did that go without saying?" --Greg Cote

TuavslaSTOP THE SILLY NOISE AND SPECULATION. DOLPHINS' TUA DESERVES TIME AND A FAIR CHANCE: Tua Tagovailoa had it easy in his maiden start, thanks to big plays by the Dolphins’ defense and special teams. The kid was modestly OK, completing 12 of 22 passes for 93 yards, with a short touchdown pass and no interceptions. Me? I was impressed. His decision-making was sharp, he took but one sack, he looked quick and mobile. Whether his hand in it was big or not, he piloted an impressive win. But the narrative afterward? "We still don’t know much about Tua. We don’t know what we have yet." Seriously? What kind of extreme were we expecting, exactly? A morph of Dan Marino and Patrick Mahomes who threw for 400 yards and five TDs? Maybe four picks followed by a reinjured hip? I saw from Tagovailoa exactly what I expected: A raw rookie who was going to be asked to do no more than was required as he dipped a toe into the NFL. A kid who needed but was denied a chance to find some sort of real-time comfort zone in preseason games. Now, more noise in the wake of his winning first start. For my full latest column, please visit Stop the Silly Noise And Speculation. Give Dolphins' Tua Time And a Fair Chance. And, our column off Sunday's win over the Rams: Dolphins Defense Makes It Easy For Tua In First NFL Start.

CoteshowGREG COTE SHOW PODCAST: NEW EPISODE 35 OUT NOW: INCLUDES PREMIERE OF TUA TRIBUTE SONG!: Our Miami Herald podcast debuted in March and the new Episode 35 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 35 we've done so far RIGHT HERE for free. Please listen, subscribe, rate and review. In new Ep35, myself and Chris dive deep into the first career NFL start of new Dolphins QB Tua Tagovailoa -- and Greg debuts his new tribute song! Also, a new 'Greg's Top 10' segment and Mount Gregmore -- the R's. Hear all that and more on the new Greg Cote Show podcast!

Picks LoboslogoNFL PIX 'N FANTASY: WEEK 8 RESULTS: NFL Pix--Mixed bag: Went 8-6 straight-up (not OK) this past week, and also 8-6 (decent) against the spread. The pandemic season continues to mess with us. (I know how you feel, Belichick). Our bounceback week ATS was led by a bull's-eye on our Upset of the Week with Dolphins beating Rams outright. ("Aaawwwk!") ESPN's experts were 0-for-10 on that one; I nailed it. Also called Denver's outright mini-upset over the Chargers, and had three other 'dogs-with-points in covers by Patriots, Vikings and Steelers. Glad you're with us on our 30th season of picks in the Herald! Greg's Lobos: More misfortune: Lobos lost a second straight, 98-86, falling to 4-4 in PFPI Fantasy, our friends 'n family 10-team PPR league. Got 23 from Matthew Stafford and 22 from DeeJay Dallas, a smart late pickup, but had too many misfires. A season strewn with bad luck, starting with Dak Prescott and Michael Thomas injuries. Also had Aaron Jones and Chris Carson both out injured last week. With full health I'm thinking championship. As is, I'm hanging onto the sixth and last playoff seed with five weeks left in regular season.

Other most recent columns: Drama, Controversy, Torqued-Up Pressure: Welcome to Tua Week In Miami / Turner -- With COVID -- Joining Dodgers Celebration A Sadly Fitting End to Season / Dolphins Turning to Tua Now Is Risky -- But Right Move / and Heat, Marlins, Canes -- now Tua. Miserable 2020 Suddenly Great Time To Be Miami Fan.

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

THE ARCHIVES:

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

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

Select other 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: TwitterInstagramFacebookColumnsPodcastPodcast on TwitterPodcast on InstagramLeBatard Show. Book: Fins At 50. Songs: Letting Go (audio) and The Ballad Of 1440 (video).

November 02, 2020

G7: Dolphins 28, L.A. Rams 17: Tuaaaaaaaaaa! (And big defense). My new column; plus latest Hot Button Top 10 (updated), new Greg Cote Show podcast out now & more

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

1) It's MONDAY, NOVEMBER 2. I'm on ESPN's Le Batard Show today, 11 a.m. to noon, to talk Tua. 2) Hope y'all had a safe Halloween, and now happy November! (Sure hope so, anyway. Know soon enough). 3) The Greg Cote Show podcast is now separately on Twitter and Instagram. Join us on both! 4) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Hurricanes bye-week look ahead, NFL Week 8 picks, Greg Cote Show podcast Episode 34 & more. 5) Join me on Twitter and Instagram.

GREG COTE SHOW PODCAST: NEW EPISODE OUT NOW!: Our Miami Herald podcast debuted in March and the new Episode 35 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 35 we've done so far RIGHT HERE for free. Please listen, subscribe, rate and review. In new Ep35, myself and Chris dive deep into the first career NFL start of new Dolphins QB Tua Tagovailoa -- and Greg debuts his new tribute song! Also, a new Greg's Top 10 and Mount Gregmore -- the R's. Hear all that and more on the new Greg Cote Show podcast!

TuatG7: DOLPHINS 28, L.A. RAMS 17: BIG DEFENSE MAKES TUA'S FIRST CAREER START EASY: My column off the game: Dolphins Defense Makes It Easy For Tua In First NFL Start. ..... Original post: It's time. Tua time. Time for the most-anticipated first start by any Miami Dolphins rookie since Dan Marino on October 9, 1983. Quarterback Tua Tagovailoa takes the football from Ryan Fitzpatrick, who was openly disappointed to give it up after leading two wins in Lamiaa row and three in the past four games. The Fins’ recent success and Fitzpatrick saying he was "heartbroken" by the decision only increases the pressure on Tagovailoa to be good right away and justify the timing of coach Brian Flores’ QB switch. Having a snorting bull named Aaron Donald across the line of scrimmage won’t make Tagovailoa’s baptism any easier. Typically I’m not huge on the weight of intangibles, but the limited-capacity home crowd witnessing history and the Dolphins themselves will be stoked, firing on adrenaline. South Floridians watching from home will be ravenously glued to Fox starting at 1. Miami is coming off a bye week and L.A. off a short week after playing Monday night — another strong edge. Although these teams rarely play each other, I would also note Fins have won 10 of past 11 over Rams including five in a row in the 3-0-5. More tangible to right now, the Rams and Dolphins rank No. 2 and 3 respectively in scoring defense. Miami averages slightly more points on offense. There is little in the evidence to state the Rams are appreciably better than the Dolphins, or at least that Miami isn’t right there. The wild card on this pick? Tua. A rookie’s maiden start. For this upset to come true Tagovailoa must make quick, sound decisions, the line must give him that extra second in the pocket, and the defense must rise up and insist itself upon a low-scoring game. I see it all happening. My pick: Upset! Dolphins (+3 1/2) over Rams, 23-20. Visit NFL Week 8 Gems for all of our latest previews and picks.

Most recent other columns: Tua Week, Justin Turner: Drama, Controversy, Torqued-Up Pressure: Welcome to Tua Week In Miami and Turner -- With COVID -- Joining Dodgers Celebration A Sadly Fitting End to Season. Also: Dolphins Turning to Tua Now Is Risky -- But Right Move and Heat, Marlins, Canes -- now Tua. Miserable 2020 Suddenly Great Time To Be Miami Fan.

HOT BUTTON TOP 10 (NOVEMBER 1-2): 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: It. Is. Time. Tua wins first start as Fins whup Rams: Thirty-seven years and three weeks after Dan Marino's first rookie start for Miami, Tua Tagovailoa took his turn on Sunday as the Dolphins hosted and beat the favored Los Angeles Rams at The Rock, 28-17. Was the timing right? Should Ryan Fitzpatrick have been benched now, after two straight wins and three in the past four games? Will Tua be the transformational star Dolfans have longed for since Marino? We have just begun to find out. 

2. COLLEGE FOOTBALL: Clemson QB Lawrence tests positive for COVID: Quarterback Trevor Lawrence of No. 1-ranked Clemson tested positive for coronavirus and was held out of Saturday's anxious win over Boston College, as little-known backup D.J. Uiagalelei led a 34-28 comeback. Lawrence also has been declared out for Clemson's huge visit to No. 4 Notre Dame next Saturday in South Bend.

3. HURRICANES: No. 11 UM comes off bye week in 4 days: The now 11th-ranked and 5-1 Canes didn't play this weekend but are back in action Friday night at North Carolina State, with UM expected to be narrow road favorites. It's prime time on ESPN, the latest national showcase for The U. The 4-2 Wolfpack also will be coming off a bye.

4. MLB: Justin Turner's idiocy sullies Dodgers championship: The Dodgers beat Tampa Bay in six games for their first World Series title since 1988, but third baseman Justin Turner quickly kicked dirt on the accomplishment. Turner tested positive for COVID late in the game, was ordered to self-isolate and blatantly defied the protocol. He celebrated on the field with teammates, no mask, no social distancing, putting everyone else at risk of being infected. He shamed MLB and the Dodgers on their crowning night. What a fool.

5. INTER MIAMI: First-year team still chasing playoffs as season wanes: MLS expansion team Inter Miami is 6-13-3 -- a decent 6-8-3 after an 0-5 start -- after Sunday's 2-1 loss at Toronto. Regular season ends next Sunday in Fort Lauderdale vs. Cincinnati. Miami presently stands 12th in the Eastern Conference but is only one point from finishing 10th and earning a postseason play-in game.

6. NASCAR: Sunday completes the Championship 4: Only Joey Logano was safely in the Championship 4 as NASCAR ran its penultimate race Sunday at Martinsville, where the other three spots would be determined for next week's season finale at Phoenix. Denny Hamlin and Brad Keselowski made it -- and Chase Elliott bumped Kevin Harvick for the final spot. Thatm after Harvick won nine regular season races. Hmm. Playoff format need another tweak?

7. FIU: Panthers season derailed by coronavirus yet again: FIU's Friday night home game vs. unbeaten No. 19 Marshall was postponed for COVID-related reasons -- the fourth FIU game this season so far postponed by the virus. The good news? The 0-3 Panthers' fourth loss is delayed, at least. Poor Butch Davis. What a nightmare season, on and off the field.

8. MLB: White Sox unearth LaRussa to manage: The Chicago White have recycled Tony LaRussa, yes Tony LaRussa, to manage the team. The Tony LaRussa who is 76. And last managed nine years ago. Trump, Biden, LaRussa -- let's hear it for old white men!

9. UFC: Khabib says he's retired and nobody believes him: Undefeated UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov, after winning last week to go 29-0 and entering the sport's G.O.A.T. pen, announced he is retiring. UFC president Dana White quickly (and wishfully) predicted Khabib would fight again. Nobody on Earth believes he won't.

10. POLITICS: Presidential election is Tuesday: More than 60 million Americans already have early-voted. If you still have not, please do your civic duty on Tuesday. Get out there and vote for the candidate of my choice.

Missing the HB10 cut: World's No. 2 woman tennis player Simona Halep tested positive for COVID ..... College hoops starts November 25 and Hurricanes men and women still don't know their schedules, because, well, pandemic ..... NASCAR announced its 2021 schedule and Homestead-Miami Speedway will host the second race weekend of the season February 20-21, with the secondary Xfinity Series race following by one day the main-race NASCAR Cup Series race. With the Daytona 500 opening the season's schedule, this will mark the first time since 1954 the first two weekends of racing have been held in state of Florida ..... Cream is rising in UEFA Champions League. First clubs to 2-0 in group-stage play are all giants: Bayern Munich, Manchester City, Liverpool, Barcelona and Man U ..... ESPN inexplicably ranked all 116 World Series for excitement. No. 83--'97 Marlins beat Indians. No. 59--'03 Marlins over Yankees. No. 30--'20 Dodgers-Rays in a pandemic. And No. 1--'75 Reds beat Red Sox ..... NFL trade deadline is Tuesday ..... NBA Draft is November 18 ..... Mike Tyson, 54, and Roy Jones Jr., 51, will stage an exhibition fight for charity November 28 in Los Angeles without fans. Oxygen tanks ready! ..... Old rich white guy Jack Nicklaus, 80, endorsed Donald Trump. Or, did that go without saying? ..... The Greg Cote Show podcast's new Episode 35 drops Monday! ..... Update: Countdown now 2,066 days (give or take) until Miami hosts its first match in soccer's 2026 World Cup.

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

THE ARCHIVES:

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

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

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: TwitterInstagramFacebookColumnsPodcastPodcast on TwitterPodcast on InstagramLeBatard Show. Book: Fins At 50. Songs: Letting Go (audio) and The Ballad Of 1440 (video).

August 16, 2019

Why Canes took bold gamble with Jarren Williams at QB. New column; plus Trump fundraiser causing major fallout for Dolphins' owner Ross, latest 'Back In My Day' video (Fake Candles!) & more

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

1) It's FRIDAY, AUGUST 16. Back from our glorious vacation! Nine days in New Mexico, Arizona and California. More on that to come, inevitably. 2) Look for the return of the Hot Button Top 10 this coming Sunday after a two-week hiatus. 3) It's always the perfect time to check out my 'Fins At 50' book at Amazon. 4) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): I'm outta here! Off on vacation & more. 5) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also on Facebook and Instagram.

WHY CANES TOOK THE BOLD (BUT SMART) GAMBLE ON JARREN WILLIAMS AT QB: Manny Diaz said the other day that the biggest signing in his first months as Miami Hurricanes head coach Jwmswas not a player, not anybody who would be in uniform on the football field. "The best recruit we signed was Dan Enos," he said. We saw why this week as UM stunned most folks by awarding its starting quarterback job to Jarren Williams (pictured). It was a reminder of the essential importance of a head coach having a lieutenant who can be relied upon to lend an experienced, trusted voice. The Hurricanes’ offense was mired in the bog of bad quarterbacking last season in the combination of Malik Rosier and N’Kosi Perry. A strong defense was wasted in the 7-6 season. Yet the highly recruited Williams was invisible at a time when his spark might have turned a season around. He couldn’t get in a game. (Well, OK, he got in one. Played garbage time against cupcake Savannah State, going 1 for 3 for 17 yards). Why? Because then-coach Mark Richt was too busy waffling between Rosier and Perry to notice Williams’ talent or grow it. And Richt had nobody on his staff to either champion Williams or tell the head coach he was wrong to not give him a shot. Richt’s quarterback coach last season? His oldest son, Jon. The missteps at quarterback that collapsed the 2018 season led to Richt’s abrupt resignation, Diaz’s return to The U from a brief few weeks at Temple — and to Enos. Diaz’s first major decision upon his return to UM was to understand he’s a rookie head coach versed in defense, and needed to hit big on the offensive coordinator. Plenty of coaches’ egos wouldn’t allow that concession. Enos was hired off Nick Saban’s Alabama staff, where he ran the offense, coached the QBs and helped developed Tua Tagovailoa (the Dolphins’ dream get in 2020) and Jalen Hurts. That is hitting big. And that is why Williams will be the Canes’ starting quarterback in the Aug. 24 opener vs. rival Florida in Orlando — even though Williams was not the easiest, safest, most experienced or most expected choice. I explain how and why that came to be in my latest column. To read, kindly visit Here's Why Canes Took Bold Gamble on Jarren Williams at QB

RosstrumpDOLPHINS' ROSS GAMBLED HE COULD HAVE IT BOTH WAYS -- AND LOST BIG: Those of us with lighter wallets can only imagine that when one is wealthy enough to have it all, that luxury might come with a sense of entitlement. Of expecting to have it both ways, all ways, any way the billionaire desires. Doesn’t always work that way, of course, as Miami Dolphins owner Stephen M. Ross is being reminded. Ross’ net worth is estimated at $7.7 billion, but he doesn’t have enough money to buy his way out of this controversy of his own design, this distraction his football team hardly needs as it prepares for the NFL season. You still say sports and politics don’t mix? Ross just mixed them, and with combustible results. OK, that's the intro to my recent back-from vacation column, on Ross hosting a fundraiser for Donald Trump's re-election campaign, and the resulting fallout. (The two buddies are pictured). The fallout Ross is enduring includes calls for boycotts of his businesses, criticism from Dolphins receiver Kenny Stills, and public disappointment within his own Ross Initiative in Sports for Equality (RISE). To read the full column, kindly visit Dolphins' Ross Cannot Be Surprised By Major Fallout Over Trump Fundraiser.

Previous most recent columns: Le Batard on Miami Radio Turmoil: 'We Were Evicted' / Buoniconti: Hall of Famer, But Even Greater Off the Field / Analyzing QB Battles for Hurricanes, Dolphins, and Why These Players Will Win / How Brian Flores Won Dolphins Players' Respect Before Ever Coaching A Game / Countdown To Hurricanes-Gators On As Practices Begin / In Tyreek Hill, Goodell And NFL Turn Blind Eye To Domestic Violence.

NEW 'BACK IN MY DAY': FAKE CANDLES!: This premiered on Tuesday's Le Batard Show on ESPN Radio, to rather rave reviews, I must say...:

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

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

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

Twitter @gregcote

May 02, 2019

The ugly America we have become through the prism of sports. Newest column; plus 3 reasons this might prove to be Dolphins' best draft in more than 20 years, latest Back In My Day video (Phones!), your grade on Fins draft & more

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

WillienIt's THURSDAY, MAY 2. Welcome, May. It's been almost a year. 2) Happy 86th Birthday Week to Willie Nelson, country music icon and the freest of spirits. 3) Football is never done, so it's always the perfect time to buy our 'Fins At 50' book for the Dolfans in your life. Learn more or buy on Amazon. 4) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Dolphins draft bounty and you-grade-it poll, your verdict on Wilkins as the No. 1 pick, Hot Button Top 10 & more. 5) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook and Instagram.

Newest 'Back In My Day' video: This premiered earlier this week on the Le Batard Show on ESPN Radio and ESPNews. To watch, visit BIMD: Phones!

GolfthreeNEWEST COLUMN: WHAT AMERICA HAS BECOME THROUGH PRISM OF SPORTS: I happen to not be a Trump voter or supporter. But I try to be nonpartisan in my latest column in lamenting that pro golfer Lexi Thompson was chased from social media by the torrent of negative comments she called "hurtful"  after she played a round of golf with the president. We are so divided, us against them, one side fighting the other, hitting each other with rights and lefts. We can blame who's in the White House if we wish. But this is us. It is we the people who have been unable -- maybe unwilling? -- to rise above the divisiveness and rancor. This is not a typical column for me. To read it please visit, Welcome to the New America, Lexi Thompson.

WilkinsrosenWHY THIS HAS CHANCE TO BE DOLPHINS' MOST IMPACTFUL DRAFT IN MORE THAN 20 YEARS: My three main reasons, in shorthand: 1) Clemson DT Christian Wilkins, taken 13th overall, shows every indication of being a star, a fixture on the line for years. And his lockerroom presence is just as good. He'll be a culture cornerstone, an instant leader. 2) I believe in Josh Rosen’s continuing potential to be a franchise QB, and it was a steal of a deal to get him for a low second-round pick and a fifth. It is low-risk, high-reward. If he blossoms, great. If he doesn’t, there’s still Tua Tagovailoa, Justin Herbert and Jake Fromm in 2020. Rosen is a safety net, a potential elite QB in case "Tank for Tua" doesn’t pan out. 3) The stockpiling of additional draft picks for next year. Miami has 12, and that could grow to 14 with expected compensatory picks for losing Ja’Wuan James and Cam Wake in free agency. Wilkins and Rosen are pictured. To read the full column please visit Rosen Has Chance To Turn A Good Dolphins Draft Great.

Our previous Dolphins draft columns on Rosen trade, Wilkins pick: To read, visit Dolphins Big Winners With Draft-Day Trade For QB Rosen and Dolphins Land Big Prize in Wilkins. Yes, I really liked both moves. When your first two days deliver an elite defensive tackle and a potential franchise quarterback on the cheap in a buyer's-market trade -- that's good work.

POLL RESULT: SOLID APPROVAL FOR DOLPHINS' OVERALL 2019 DRAFT: We asked, "What do you think of what the Miami Dolphins got done in the 2019 NFL Draft?" The poll included the trade for the QB Rosen as a part of the team's draft bounty. Your verdict: Very Impressed/Love It 27.34 percent; Impressed/Like It 43.17%; Fair/It's OK 21.58%; and Disappointing 7.91%. I say that's solid to  strong approval -- 70.51% loving or liking it.

Other most recent columns: Dolphins at 13: Twice Lucky, One Horrific Tragedy / Everything Aligning for Dolphins to Land Tagovailoa in '20 / Oh To Be Hated Again! Lean Times For Miami Sports / Le Batard Takes Miami To Manhattan / Why Tiger's Masters Triumph Is About So Much More Than Golf / In Joel Quenneville, Panthers Get Their Riley, Their Shula / And our Dwyane Wade Week trilogy: The Last Star: Post-Wade, Miami Sports Is Bereft / Wade Fittingly Goes Out A Winner And A 30-point Star / And Thank You, Dwyane Wade, Miami's G.O.A.T.

Select other columns: Bosh Honored On A Wistful Night Of 'What If' / Beckham's Miami Soccer Odyssey Takes Latest Detour / Will Diaz's Canes Justify 'The New Miami' Hype? Why Tannehill's Legacy Probably Isn't What You Think / Case For Kaepernick's Comeback As A Dolphin / 'Coach Crutch' Has Nova Southeastern Soaring / Trip to Miami Inspired a National Bobblehead Shrine / The Intrigue Left: Will LeBron Go Out On Top? / Transgender-Athlete Firestorm A Necessary Debate / Across the Rio Grande to the PGA Tour / From Dark and Empty to Top Of the World: Dan Le Batard at 50.

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

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

Twitter @gregcote

November 07, 2018

There's a new No. 1 in Herald's NFL QB rankings!; plus quick political comment, latest Pix 'n Fantasy results, ESPN 'Greg Cote Tuesday' link, my 'State Of Shock' column, Cote's State of the State rank, still-Perfect '72 Fins & more

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

1) It's WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 7. Visit Greg Cote Tuesday for the podcast from yesterday's Le Batard Show on ESPN Radio. Contained therein: the latest 'Back In My Day.' 2) Football season means it's the perfect time to delight Dolfans you know with our 'Fins At 50' book. Check it out on Amazon. 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Dolphins beats Jets wirh DSM poll, Hot Button Top 10, your most-disappointing-team verdict & more. 4) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook and Instagram.

"I try to avoid overt political comments here. Let's just say that, with the mid-term election results, I'm grateful that so much of the country is so much more progressive than my own state of Florida, which apparently is OK continuing to slide into the embrace of 'Deep South' beyond geography. You are free to disagree. God bless America!" --Greg Cote

ShulaSTILL PERFECT AFTER ALL THESE YEARS: Quietly came an annual rite of football passage on Sunday. The NFL's last unbeaten team (the L.A. Rams) lost, preserving the 1972 Dolphins' 17-0 as still the only Perfect Season in NFL history. That's 46 years and counting weathering the storm and standing alone for Don Shula and his boys. In honor of the accomplishment, a photo (at right) taken before Sunday's Dolphins-Jets game at Hard Rock Stadium. Far left and right are iconic fullback Larry Csonka with the thumbs-up sign and of course Shula in his mustard Pro Football Hall of Fame jacket. In between them: Joe Namath and Shula's wife, Mary Anne. #StillPerfect

LATEST COLUMN: Canes, Gators, Noles make dubious history: Miami, Florida and Florida State have a current combined seven-game losing streak, the first time in almost a half-century that each has simultaneously lost at least two in a row. It's an historical quirk, but indicative of the broader struggles and challenges for the state's erstwhile Big 3. To dive into my latest column, visit State of Shock For Canes, Gators and Noles.

Select other recent columns: From the stadium on Sunday's game: Dolphins Win, But Under Cloud, Not Rainbow. Also: Time For Faith In Richt, And PatienceMoving Beyond Tannehill Smart But Not Easy For DolphinsDolfans, Your Team Is Not Easy To Love (fans vent). Snakebit Adam (on Gase). Family Tradition (N'Kosi Perry's $$ video). And Victory-y, Miami! (Marlins sign Victor Victor Mesa).

MahomesBREES WINS WEEK BUT MAHOMES OVERTAKES SEASON LEAD / MIAMI HERALD NFL QB RANKINGS / WEEK 9: The Saints' Drew Brees scored a 48.30-point game to win Week 9 honors in the Herald's latest NFL quarterback rankings. The bigger news: The Chiefs' Patrick Mahomes (pictured) overtakes Viking Kirk Cousins for the season lead in what evolves for now as a three-man race along with Brees. Because our rankings are cumulative, players on a bye week take a temporary hit that evens out over the course of a season. Dolphin Brock Osweiler, filling in again for injured Ryan Tannehill, did not play well (again) and languishes in 30th place. This is our 21st season of Passer Success System (PASS) NFL QB rankings. Our formula is simple and unchanged since its inception in 1998, factoring accuracy, yardage, TD-interception ratio and team result. Most major ranking systems such as the NFL's and ESPN's are complicated and percentile based, allowing QBs who miss half a season to still win a title, while our system is cumulative, rewarding players who are consistently productive and avoid injury or benching. The Top 15 table (plus Dolphins) entering Week 10:

MIAMI HERALD PASS RANKINGS / WEEK 9
RK    LW    Player, Team                        WK9          Season

1       2       Patrick Mahomes, KC            43.75         354.05

2       1       Kirk Cousins, MIN                  27.20        352.75

3       3       Drew Brees, NO                    48.30        349.80

4       4       Jared Goff, LAR                    41.55        327.80

5       5       Matt Ryan, ATL                     45.50        327.20

6       7       Tom Brady, NE                      31.70        301.70

7       9       Ben Roethlisberger, PIT         33.50        282.00

8       6       Andrew Luck, IND                  BYE          277.35

9       8       Philip Rivers, LAC                 22.40         273.80

10     12     Deshaun Watson, HOU           31.65        264.45

11     13     Aaron Rodgers, GB                23.95        255.60

12     18     Cam Newton, CAR                 36.35        248.65

13     17     Matthew Stafford, DET          23.95        247.55

14     15     Derek Carr, OAK                    19.55        246.90

15     16     Joe Flacco, BAL                    19.30        246.25

29     28     Ryan Tannehill, MIA                DNP         112.60

30     32     Brock Osweiler, MIA               17.95        109.70

Bubble: Eli Manning, NYG, 244.85. Week 9 best: Brees, NO, 48.30 (25-36, 346, 4-0 in win). Week 9 worst: Sam Darnold, NYJ, 2.45 (21-39, 229, 0-4 in loss).

Picks LobosNFL WEEK 9 PIX 'N FANTASY RESULTS: SOLID AGAIN, BAD AGAIN: Every Tuesday in the blog I update you on how I did the past weekend with my Miami Herald predictions and with my LeBatard Show/League Of Lobos fantasy team. The latest: Herald picksSolid again. We went 9-4 straight-up and a stout 9-4 against the spread in Week 9. That included yet another Upset of the Week bull's-eye with Steelers winning in Baltimore ("Aawwk!"), a mini-upset with Texans winning in Denver, and Titans-with-points last night. Also hit the Dolphins' seven-point winning margin on the button. (See Week 9 Gems for proof I ain't lyin'). Greg's LobosBad again. Got spanked by Guillermo 134-71, a score too brutal to mention, really, for a second straight loss dropping us to a disappointing 3-6 on the year. Got 20.3 points from Deshaun Watson and not much else of note. With four weeks left in the regular season I may need to run the table or at least win three to make the playoffs. So let's do it then! #WeAreTheLobos

COTE'S STATE OF THE STATE RANKINGS: Each Tuesday I rank the state's seven FBS-level college football teams. The latest: 1. UCF (8-0); 2. Florida (6-3); 3. Miami (5-4); 4. South Florida (7-2); 5. Florida State (4-5); 6. FAU (4-5); 7. FIU (6-3).

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

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

Twitter @gregcote

November 06, 2018

Dolfan Satisfaction Meter: 29.6%; plus Fins beat Jets 13-6 behind big defense, with my new column from game; also, latest Hot Button Top 10, NFL Week 9 picks, your most-disappointing-team verdict (landslide!) & more

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

1) It's MONDAY, NOVEMBER 5. Latest Canesfan Satisfaction Meter results are in. Find 'em in the previous blogpost. They ain't pretty. 2) Football season means it's the perfect time to delight Dolfans you know with our 'Fins At 50' book. Check it out on Amazon. 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Hurricanes lose to Duke with CSM poll, Biggest Disappointment Poll, NFL Week 9 picks, other state Collball & more. 4) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook and Instagram.

My Dolphins-Jets game column: From the stadium and the lockerroom Sunday, visit Dolphins Win, But Under Cloud, Not Rainbow.

Select other recent columns: Time For Faith In Richt, And Patience. And Moving Beyond Tannehill Smart But Not Easy For Dolphins. Also: Dolfans, Your Team Is Not Easy To Love (fans vent). Snakebit Adam (luckless Adam Gase). Family Tradition (N'Kosi Perry's $$$ video). And Victory-y, Miami! (Marlins sign Victor Victor Mesa).

DOLFAN SATISFACTION METER: G9: 29.6%: Results are certified in the latest Dolfan Satisfaction Meter postgame poll, and they show 29.6 percent overall approval -- the combination of "very" and "somewhat" satisfied votes -- in the wake of Sunday afternoon's 13-6 home victory over the New York Jets putting Miami's season record at 5-4. The DSM is a continuous weekly gauge of how Dolfans are feeling about the team and its direction. Right after each game I invite you to share your overall degree of satisfaction. Criteria for voting is your own, but I suggest fans consider the most recent game's performance and caliber of opponent, season as a whole, direction the club is heading and your overall degree of optimism -- all in the context of reasonable expectations. Results are certified official the morning after one full day of voting. In this case that was around 7 a.m. today/Tuesday. (The DSM also takes place on our Twitter site @gregcote. The approval rate there was 32%).

2018 DSM game-by-game results

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Next poll: Nov. 11 following game at Green Bay.

G9: DOLPHINS 13, N.Y. JETS 6: BIG DEFENSE OVERCOMES LITTLE OFFENSE FOR MIAMI: Postgame thoughts? How about an entire game column! Visit Dolphins Win, But Under Cloud, Not Rainbow ..... Halftime thoughts: The Jets offense has been just the cure for Miami's defensive woes that we imagined. Miami has allowed only 117 total yards in the first half, while its own offense has generated only 134. In sum, 3 field goals, 8 punts, 1 lousy game thus far ..... Original post: The Jets won their season opener — big — and Sam Darnold was the mayor of Gotham. The NyjmiaDolphins started out 3-0 and Ryan Tannehill was back and better than ever. What the hell happened!? Rhetorical question. The NFL happened. Darnold’s rookie learning curve kicked in; he doesn’t get much help and the Planes (led by Dead Man Coaching Todd Bowles) have averaged a meager 13.6 points in their five losses at 3-5. And Miami continues to wait for Tannehill’s return from a shoulder injury like Vladimir and Estragon waiting for Godot. Godot never showed. Tannehill might, someday, meanwhile we get a fourth straight game of Brock Osweiler. Brockvember? (Who else works a 1950s Samuel Beckett play into an NFL pick, by the way? You’re welcome!). The fact the home team here has a better record at 4-4 yet is only favored by a bare-bones 3 points verifies how little bettors believe in Miami. I get that. At the same time, what better salve for the Fins’ colossal downturn in defensive success than a sincerely bad NYJ offense? Miami beat the Stinkin’ Jets 20-12 in Week 2 and I’d imagine a similar score, and result. Jets dissolve into a puddle on the road and Miami has won five of its past seven division home games. So let’s make it a venue call fortified by the belief Miami’s defense cannot possibly be worse than we’ve seen lately. Dolfans, prepare to step inside off of that high ledge because the Jets are about to “L-O-S-E, lose!” My pick: Dolphins, 23-16.

Visit Week 9 Gems for all of our latest NFL picks. 

POLL RESULT: CANES FOOTBALL IS BIGGEST DISAPPOINTMENT: We asked (and this was mostly before Saturday's UM loss to Duke) what major South Florida sports team is the most disappointing to you right now? Your verdict: 47.30 percent--

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

Hotbutton1. HURRICANES: UM falls at home to Duke for 3rd straight loss: Once 5-1 and ranked, UM is now 5-4 following Saturday's rain-drenched 20-12 loss at home to Duke. Canes were 9 1/2-point favorites but were doomed by two key lost fumbles. Or three, if you count Mark Richt's fumbling of his quarterback situation.

2. DOLPHINS: Big defense helps Stumblin' Fins get past Stinkin' Jets: Miami is 5-4 after Sunday's 13-6 home win over the Stinkin' Jets. Based on low preseason expectations this is not bad. Based on a 3-0 start, sputtering offense and Brock Osweiler ... not so good.

3. UM HOOPS: Hurricanes men open play this Friday: Jim Larranaga's unranked (but receiving votes) UM men open their season this Friday vs. Lehigh. Canes have no freshmen on roster, the fallout of recruiting damage from last year's implication in that FBI probe into corruption in the sport -- one that has found Larranaga and the program not found guilty of anything yet sullied. Katie Meier's UM women, ranked No. 25, open on Tuesday at FIU.

4. COLLEGE BASKETBALL: Kentucky-Duke tops marquee as season opens: No. 2-ranked Kentucky faces No. 4 Duke and 1-Kansas plays 10-Michigan State as the men's college basketball season rolls out with a bang this Tuesday. Now if we can keep attention on the court this year and away from the shady dealings of Adidas executives and teams on the take, we'll be OK.

5. HEAT: Slumping Miami drops third straight: The Heat is 3-5 after a third straight loss last night in Atlanta despite Josh Richardson's 32 points. Miami is at Detroit Monday night then home for four. And if you haven't circled it in red on the calendar yet: Heat host LeBron's Lakers Nov. 18.

6. COLLEGE FOOTBALL: Shakeup ahead in CFP top four: Alabama and Clemson solidified their 1-2 spots in the College Football Playoff ranking with huge wins Saturday -- 'Bama's at the expense of No. 3 LSU. Watch Notre Dame and Michigan hike up to 3-4 in the new rankings, with the Tigers now on the outside. 

7. MLB: Hey big spenders, free agency now underway: It officially began on Saturday, with the Nationals' Bryce Harper and Dodgers' Manny Machado seen as the big two big prizes. Free agency involves big spending by teams willing to put their wallets where there hopes are. Meaning we'll likely hear crickets from the Marlins.

8. PANTHERS: Luongo back as Cats split games in Finland: Panthers are now 3-8 on the season after splitting two games with Winnipeg in NHL Global Series in Helsinki, Finland. Games resume Thursday vs. Edmonton here with goalie Roberto Luongo finally back healthy again.

9. SHULA BOWL: FAU stuns FIU in rivalry renewal: FIU was home, favored and having a better season. FAU was the visitor, the underdog and having a relatively lousy season. There was every reason to imagine Butch Davis smiling at the end, not Lane Kiffin. Final: FAU, 49-14. 

10. ELECTION DAY: Mid-term election are Tuesday. Vote!: Do your civic duty as an American citizen. Go out and vote for the candidate of my choice!

Missing the HB10 cut: Sure the Canes lost again, but Florida and FSU also lost Saturday. What's that they say about misery? ..... The World Series trophy was damaged by a thrown full can of beer during the Red Sox championship parade. That's terrible. Talk about a waste of beer! ..... Golfers beginning in 2019 may opt to putt with the flagstick in, and at least one, Bryson DeChambeau, says he will. I'd be more impressed if he planned to putt with the flagstick itself ..... American star Simone Biles dominated at the world gymnastics championships in Qatar despite suffering from kidney stones. Which sounds impossible, by the way ..... With only 14 days until NASCAR finale at Homestead, Joey Logano is only driver who's locked into Championship Four ..... ESPN analyst Tim Tebow criticized Maryland for firing scandalized football coach D.J. Durkin. "Not even I can agree with Timmy on that one," said God ..... Breeders' Cup ran Saturday at Churchill Downs. It's the one horse race that folks who only care about the Triple Crown races might actually watch ..... Major League Soccer playoffs are down to the final eight. Is Inter Miami sending a scout, David Beckham? ..... After months of blessed quiet, public buffoon LaVar Ball reemerged to say he could coach the Lakers with his "eyes shut." I'd prefer he try anything with his mouth shut ..... Update: Countdown now 2,787 days (give or take) until Miami hosts its first match in the 2026 World Cup.

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

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

Twitter @gregcote

October 09, 2018

Dolfan Satisfaction Meter: 6.4%; plus Tannehill, Fins collapse, blow huge lead in 27-17 loss in Cincy; also, latest Hot Button Top 10 (updated) & more

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

1) It's MONDAY, OCTOBER 8. Latest Canesfan Satisfaction Meter results (they're sky-high) may be found in the previous blogpost. 2) Football's here and that means it's the perfect time to delight the Dolfans in your life with our 'Fins At 50' book. Check it out here on Amazon. 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Canes rally past FSU with CSM poll, other state Collball, your World Series rooting-interest verdict & more. 4) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook and Instagram.

Latest column: From Canes' comeback win over FSU: From the stadium on Miami's 28-27 victory over the Seminoles, led by N'Kosi Perry's four touchdown passes: Kid QB Passes His Big Test. Also, voting continues all day in the latest Canesfan postgame poll. Find it in the blogpost directly below or get there directly here. 

Select recent other columns: Whatever Happened to Kenyan Drake? and With All D.Wade Has Meant, One Year to Say Goodbye Might Not Be Enough.

DsmDOLFAN SATISFACTION METER: G5: 6.4%: Results are certified in the latest Dolfan Satisfaction Meter postgame poll, and they show a season-low 6.4 percent overall approval -- the combination of "very" and "somewhat" satisfied votes -- in the wake of Sunday's 27-17 road loss at Cincinnati putting Miami's season record at 3-2. The DSM is a continuous weekly gauge of how Dolfans are feeling about the team and its direction. Right after each game I invite you to share your overall degree of satisfaction. Criteria for voting is your own, but I suggest fans consider the most recent game's performance and caliber of opponent, season as a whole, direction the club is heading and your overall degree of optimism -- all in the context of reasonable expectations. Results are certified official the morning after one full day of voting. In this case that was around 6:30 a.m. today/Tuesday. (The DSM also takes place on our Twitter site @gregcote. The approval rating there was 20%).

2018 DSM game-by-game results

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

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

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

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

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

Next poll: Oct. 14 following game vs. Chicago.

G5: CINCINNATI 27, DOLPHINS 17: COMPLETE COLLAPSE AS MIAMI BLOWS 17-POINT LEAD!Postgame thoughts at Bengals, 27-17: A tale of two Miamis. Saturday, the Hurricanes overcome a 20-7 halftime hole to beat FSU 28-27. Today, the Dolphins blow a 14-0 halftime lead, completely collapse and fall in Cincinnati 27-17. It was a Tannehill second-half meltdown, first with a 22-yard interception-return TD, then with a sack/fumble returned 19 yards for a score, and finally with another interception. Penalties hurt Miami again, too. As usual. So a season once 3-0 is now 3-2. And Dolfans are left to wonder which was worse: Getting blown out 38-7 in Foxboro. Or the 27 straight unanswered points given up today. Close call. No winning answer .....     Halftime thoughts at Dolphins, 14-0: A Kiko Alonso red-zone interception. A 22-yard Ryan Tannehill TD strike to Kenyan Drake. Vincent Taylor's block of a short field goal attempt. Jakeem Grant's late 70-yard punt=return score. Big plays are carrying the Dolphins so far in Cincinnati, a low-scoring upset in the making. Long way to go, but thus far a very impressive bounceback performance by Dolphins after last week's fiasco in Foxboro ..... Original post: Dolphins need a healing win after last week's 38-7 loss to the Patriots in the Fiasco at Foxboro, but finding Miacinthat remedy Sunday in Cincinnati will be tough in this duel of 3-1 teams and unlikely division leaders. Miami hasn't been 4-1 through five games since 2003, and I do not see them getting there on the road vs. the Bengals. This marks only these teams' seventh meeting since 2000, with Cincy winning the most recent, 22-7, in 2016. Andy Dalton is 1-2 in his career vs. Miami with five interceptions, but the Bengals' uptempo offense is the best and most balanced it has been in years, and the ‘Gals add two key pieces here, getting top defender Vontaze Burfict back from suspension and also expecting to have starting running back Joe Mixon back from injury. In contrast, Miami could be missing as many as six starters to injuries. Yes, there are reasons Cincy is favored by 5 1/2 points. This in some ways might be a bigger defensive challenge for Miami then even the Patriots were last week. Dalton to A.J. Green will be a handful for Xavien Howard, and Mixon and Gio Bernard form one of NFL’s better running back tandems. (Speaking of running backs, look for Dolphins coach Adam Gase to remember that Kenyan Drake is pretty good and start feeding him the ball again. That was the focus of this column by me. Maybe Adam read it). Ball control to limit Cincy’s offensive forays might be Miami’s best upset shot. I do think the Dolphins are a fair bet to cover the point spread. Bengals could be in letdown mode after last week’s last-second 37-36 upset win in Atlanta. But the Fins lost a lot of trust capital with me in that utter collapse last week. Also, the Dolphins are only 1-6 in their past seven road games, making this a strong venue call. My pick: Bengals, 30-20.

Watch for latest DSM postgame poll, right here and also on my Twitter site, right after today's game ends.

Visit Week 5 Gems for all of our latest NFL picks.

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

Hotbutton1. HURRICANES: Perry, defense lead miracle-rally past FSU: Miami trailed 20-7 at home into the third quarter Saturday. Little was going right. But N'Kosi Perry's three second-half TD passes and a mighty defense rising up worked the Miracle On Marino Boulevard. For my game column centered on Perry: Kid QB Passes His Big Test.

2. DOLPHINS: Miami blows 17-point in monumental collapse in Cincinnati: At 3-0 Dolfans were chanting "Su-per Bowl!" After a 38-7 loss in New England it was "Here we go again." And then came Sunday's 27-17 loss in Cincy after Fins blew 17-0 lead. Until further notice: Same ol' Dolphins.

3. HEAT: Butler trade reportedly falls apart: Heat is 0-3 halfway through its six-game preseason schedule as the Oct. 17 regular season opens draws nearer. More importantly, the push to trade for Timberwolves star Jimmy Butler, so close, fell apart over the weekend, ESPN reported.

4. PANTHERS: Cats open 25th season with loss, Luongo injury: A 2-1 season-opening shootout loss at Tampa Bay and goalie Roberto Luongo helped off the ice in the second period with a knee injury made for what you'd call an inauspicious debut Saturday night. Luongo will be sidelined two to four weeks, missing Thursday's home opener. 

5. MLB: Brewers first team to clinch division series: Brewers swept Rockies 3-0 while Dodgers are up 2-1 on Braves and can cinch today. In AL, Astros lead Indians 2-0 and can clinch today, while Red Sox and Yankees are tied 1-1 entering Game 3 today. Over/under on that one is what, 4 hours?

6. UFC: Nurmagomedov beats McGregor, brawl ensues: Khabib Nurmagomedov defended his lightweight title in Las Vegas by submitting Conor McGregor in a chokehold, a highly anticipated and well-fought bout that devolved into a post-fight brawl. Admit it. Didn't you want both guys to lose?

7. GATORS: Florida drowns No. 5 LSU in the Swamp: No. 22 Florida impressively won a third straight SEC game Saturday with a big 27-19 win over favored and 5th-ranked LSU. The Gator defense will keep this team in every game and Dan Mullen is the mayor of Gainesville.

8. MARLINS: The sting of Yelich as Fish begin offseason: Off an NL-worst 63-98 record, the salary-cutting, rebuilding Marlins plan for 2019. But this hurts: Seeing Christian Yelich lead Milwaukee in the playoffs in a likely MVP season. So cheap to keep, Yelich was. (Shake my head...)  

9. BRETT KAVANAUGH: Controversial judge confirmed to Supreme Court: Several women testifying about his past lechery and sexual misconduct were not enough to derail Kavanaugh's approval to the Highest Court. Remember when saying "Only in America" was a good thing?

10. CRISTIANO RONALDO: Soccer god face rap allegation: Ronaldo has resumed league play for Juventus despite the Portuguese superstar facing a rape allegation in the United States stemming from a 2009 accusation he has steadfastly denied. No matter how it shakes out, Ronaldo may have a future on the U.S. Supreme Court!

Missing the HB10 cut: Update. Countdown now 2,815 days (give or take) until Miami hosts its first match in the 2026 World Cup.

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

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

Twitter @gregcote

August 23, 2018

On Stanton's 1st return to Marlins Park as a Yankee: My column, and a poll. Vote now!; plus our summer vacation and what we missed, LeBatard Show best-of podcast, Canes' recycled unis, R.I.P. Aretha, Herald endorses alien-abduction survivor & more

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

Aretha1) It's Thursday, August 23. Happy birthday yesterday to my wife, the greatest person I know! 2) R.I.P. on the passing of the great Aretha Franklin. R-E-S-P-E-C-T. 3) Football's back so it's the perfect time to delight the Dolfans in your life with the surprise of our 'Fins At 50' book. Check it out here on Amazon. 4) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Vacation advisory, personal health scare, Dolphins drop preseason opener & more. 5) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook and Instagram.

LeBatard Show reunion: Still no Dan, but Stugotz and I were back from vacation and in-studio Tuesday on the Dan LeBatard Show With Stugotz on ESPN Radio. Click HERE for listen to the best-of podcast.

StantonON STANTON'S FIRST RETURN AS A YANKEE: Giancarlo Stanton said it would be "weird" for him. For Miami fans, too, as Stanton returned to Marlins Park for a two-game series with the Yankees that the team split this week -- his first time back since his offseason trade to New York. He went 3-for-9 in the two games (two singles, one double) with five strikeouts. and was greeted warmly by Marlins fans. His return is the topic of my latest column. To read it, click on Finally, a Chance to Say Thanks. And vote in the poll below. His 300th career homer didn't happen here. But if it had, how would you have reacted?

Colo ColomeI'M BACK. WHAT'D I MISS? ANYTHING?: Wife and I spent a glorious eight days on a Colorado vacation. I'm back to work (and thankfully to sea-level oxygen) today. The very high altitudes of Colorado are not something one adjusts to easily, or quickly. Nevertheless we had a great time flying in and out of Denver and balling the jack in a rental SUV to Boulder, Aspen, Vail and ghost towns in between. We love these driving vacations, and the road course and vistas of the Rocky Mountains provided maybe the most picturesque trip we have enjoyed in the U.S., challenged only by the majesty of the Pacific Coast Highway, which we experienced two summers earlier. Meanwhile, back home, while we were away, the Dolphins were 0-2 in preseason games, the Marlins went 2-7 and Dwyane Wade was still keeping the Heat on hold in terms of his future. In other words, I guess we didn't miss much. Happy to be back.

Our most recent columns: NFL Enters Year 3 Of Anthem-Protest QuagmireGore Back In Miami Is The Perfect End RunDolphins Need a Better Tannehill, Not Just A Healthy OneTo The Good-Guy Grinder In The Shades (on death of Tony Sparano). Dolphins Results Will Exceed Brutal OffseasonSoccer Stadium Progress, But Much Work LeftReasons For Hope As Jeter Plan Takes RootTime to Flip the Old Narrative On Miami As a Sports TownCan Riley Rescue Heat From Purgatory? When 3 World Cup Legends Were Ours.

Bettina AlienHERALD ENDORSES ALIEN-ABDUCTION SURVIVOR: An only-in-Miami moment if ever there was one. The Miami Herald's Editorial Board endorsing a candidate who professes to believe in extra-terrestrials, says she was taken aboard a spaceship at age 7, and that throughout her life she has communicated telepathically with alien beings. Bettina Rodriguez Aguilera, former Doral councilwoman, is pictured far right. She is among several Republican Congressional candidates running to fill the vacancy of retiring Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, and (astonishingly to some) received the Herald's backing in the Aug. 28 election. "We realize that Rodriguez Aguilera is an unusual candidate," admitted the Herald in a rather hilarious understatement. One surmises that the newspaper perhaps settled on this candidate after determining that all of the other Republicans in the field are actual aliens. The image at right, found all over the Internet, may or may not be Rodriguez Aguilera's actual campaign poster.

And the only headline that could possibly be stranger than the one directly above...

NEW HURRICANES FOOTBALL UNIFORMS MADE OF RECYCLED OCEAN TRASH: Ripe fodder for making fun, but good for them. Save the oceans! Protect your Mother! They've recycled nylon  fishing line. Somebody should invent uniforms made of recycled plastic straws.

R.I.P, QUEEN OF SOUL, 1942-2018:

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

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

Twitter @gregcote

July 21, 2018

What do you think of Dolphins' controversial new anthem policy? Poll. Last day to vote!: plus our latest columns on Dolphins, MLS Miami soccer; also, Time's Trump/Putin cover, your ASG vs. HRD verdict & more

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

Cotefrench1) It's SATURDAY, JULY 21. Click on Greg Cote Tuesday for the best-of podcast from this week's LeBatard Show. Got a kick out of the artwork pictured at right, courtesy loyal show fan @oigomusic. It was inspired by a World Cup conversation that included me mentioning that the Cote family has partly French ancestry. Chris wears that jaunty beret quite well! 2) Delight the Dolfans in your life with the surprise of our 'Fins At 50' book. Check it out here on Amazon. 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Marlins at the break and Jeter's plan, All-Star Game vs. Home Run Derby poll & more. 4) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook and Instagram.

Latest column: Why Dolphins are poised to exceed expectations: Estimations by the national NFL media and resulting public opinion have been brutal to the Dolphins this offseason. But fans should expect better as training camp begins this coming week. I explore in my latest column. Click Dolphins Results Will Exceed Brutal Offseason to read.

DolkneelPOLL: FOR OR AGAINST DOLPHINS' NEW ANTHEM POLICY?: The NFL and its players association agreed Thursday to suspend implementation of its new national anthem policy -- requiring players who wish not to stand to stay off the field -- pending further negotiations. while the two sides work on a resolution. That was in reaction to broad criticism after an Associated Press report that the Dolphins' new team policy threatens players who protest on the field with  up to a four-game suspension and fine. The Dolphins later clarified that "all options are open," and that kneeling players wouldn't necessarily be suspended or fined. In other words, for the NFL and the Dolphins, this whole issue remains a holy, unwinnable  and unsettled mess entering its third season clouding the NFL. I'm a freedom-of-expression guy who also believes the cause of the kneeling -- social justice and prejudice against blacks -- is a righteous one. Now have your say on the Dolphins' new policy:

MIAMI MLS SOCCER STADIUM: IT STILL WON'T COME EASY: Wednesday was a big day along the road to fruition for Miami's Major League Soccer expansion team being shepherded by the Masgroup headed by David Beckham and Jorge Mas. Mas is pictured. He's the one with the relieved smile. The 3-2 Miami City Commission vote to put the proposed Miami Freedom Park at Melreese measure on the November ballot was significant. I'd be shocked if it didn't pass, with strong support from Miami mayor Francis Suarez and with all the advertising money one envisions coming from the Beckham group as the vote nears. But hurdles remain even presuming the voters say yay, as I write in my latest column. Click on Soccer Stadium Progress, But Much Work Left to read in full. As commissioner Ken Russell said, "There's so many places this could [still] die along the way." Negotiations on the lease will be complicated, and tough. The city will be very demanding. That's the Loria Lesson. The city and county were played for fools in the Marlins Park deal, and so the due diligence on getting the best deal from Beckham/Mas will be painstaking. That will make difficult the October 2019 deadline for breaking ground on the new stadium. Missing that deadline could jeopardize the entire project and future of MLS in Miami or, at best, mean the stadium wouldn't be ready by the 2021 season (after the inaugural 2020-season home games are played at Hard Rock Stadium or Marlins Park or a combination). Wednesday was a significant step, but there remains a long way to go.

Other recent columnsReasons For Hope As Jeter Plan Takes Root (on Marlins at the break). And Beckham Group's New Theme Song: It Don't Come Easy and Let The Voters Decide (our two previous columns on Miami MLS soccer stadium debate vs. Melreese golf). Also: Why 'Melo To Miami Would Be Strange MarriageLeBron-to-Lakers A Decision Worth Applauding7 Reasons the Dolphins Could Be OK. Time to Flip the Old Narrative On Miami As a Sports TownCan Riley Rescue Heat From Purgatory? When 3 World Cup Legends Were OursEnd the Illogical Shame and Get Howard in the HallTannehill's Defining Season. And Heading For Home: An Ode to Jim Morris. (For our column page, browse MiamiHerald/GregCote).

ComboTIME MAGAZINE'S FRIGHTENING NEW COVER: It depicts a combination of Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin as one person. Click here for the story behind the cover, including a video that shows one man morphing into the other, and back. Eerie, especially in light of the Helsinki summit.

POLL RESULT: HOME RUN DERBY RULES: In a poll on our Twitter site we asked, "Which of MLB's two main midseason events do you prefer?" and, with nearly 1,000 votes cast, the Home Run Derby clobbered the All-Star Game by 71 percent to 29%. We asked the same question in a blog poll with very different results -- ASG beating HRD by 57.14% to 42.86% -- but that attracted fewer votes than any blog poll we've ever done.

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

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

Twitter @gregcote