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

July 07, 2018

World Cup rooting interest: Which of final 8 teams (now 6, soon 4) do you hope wins it all? Poll. Last day to vote!; plus your verdict on LeBron-to-Lakers, the president and the press & more

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

1) It's SATURDAY, JULY 7. Hope y'all had a happy (and safe) Fourth of July! For me it's a day of reflection as well as fun. I have not always loved who is president. I have not always loved my country's policies. But I have always loved my country, and been grateful to be among its citizens. 2) Want to surprise the Dolfans in your life? Check out our 'Fins At 50' book on Amazon. 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): LeBron to Lakers, Hot Button Top 10, 4-Man Outfield & more. 4) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook and Instagram.

Cote on vacation: Missed new columns from me lately? It's because I'm on vacation this week. In town, still tending the blog, OD'ing on World Cup, but on vacation. I'll be back with a new column on Monday.

WcupTHE WORLD CUP FINAL EIGHT SIX (SOON FOUR): WHAT'S YOUR ROOTING INTEREST?: Thirty-two nations have been pared to eight -- now six, and soon four -- as the World Cup's quarterfinals stage ran yesterday and again today in Russia. The one good thing about no U.S. team in it is that many of us have had to adopt a team to root for, for whatever reason. I'm curious what your rooting interest is. In this poll I list the final eight national teams still standing in alphabetical order. Brazil and Uruguay were eliminated yesterday. Remember: this is not a poll to predict who will win. This is a rooting-interest poll -- who you WANT to win. And if you don't have a preference, it probably means you haven't been watching, and won't from here, which would be your loss. Past champions in the final eight, ranked in order of most recent title: Brazil (1958-62-70-94-02), France (1998), England (1966) and Uruguay (1930-50). The other four are seeking their first crown. Ready? Vote!

LebronlaWHY LEBRON WAS RIGHT, BEYOND MONEY, TO PICK LAKERS: Well, that was quick. LeBron James decided to take his talents to Hollywood (or thereabouts) on the first day of free agency this past Sunday, agreeing to a four-year, $154 million deal with the Los Angeles Lakers. Now if LeBron can coax a Spurs trade of Kawhi Leonard to L.A., he'll be set. In my latest column I write how LeBron should be applauded for his latest decision, because it is good for him and for the NBA. There's a poll below to gauge whether y'all agree with me or not. To read that latest column, click LeBron-to-Lakers A Decision Worth Applauding. Our four other columns from the past week: LeBron's 1 Choice to Meet His Legacy Head-OnMLS Miami Says All Are Welcome7 Reasons the Dolphins Could Be OK. And Time to Flip the Old Narrative On Miami As a Sports Town).

POLL RESULT: SUPPORT FOR LEBRON'S MOVE, BUT...: I asked in a poll on my Twitter feed if LeBron James made the right choice by going to the Lakers, more than 2,200 voted, and it was 53 percent yes, 32% no and 15% undecided. I ask the same question in the blog poll above (you may still vote) and it was also yes, but closer, when last I checked. The trend? Pretty strong "yes" sentiment initially, but then an increasing number of "no" votes. 

THE PRESIDENT AND ATTACKS ON JOURNALISTS: To preview his latest column, the Herald's Leonard Pitts wrote on Twitter: "I will not blame the murders on the toxic environment fostered by the president and his followers. I will say that in routinely denigrating reporters, they set the stage for what happened. They are not guilty, but they are not innocent, either." We agree. In writing in my blog about the Annapolis murders of five Capital Gazette employees, here is what I wrote last week: "The fear moving forward: That the next assault on journalists might be politically motivated as blatant attacks on the First Amendment and unjustified disparaging of journalists continues to spew from the White House. The president of the United States cannot continue to relentlessly, egregiously and unfairly portray journalists as "fake news" purveyors, as the enemy of the people, and not expect that might eventually result in violence." 

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.

Other select more recent columnsCan Riley Rescue Heat From Purgatory? When 3 World Cup Legends Were OursEnd the Illogical Shame and Get Howard in the HallJeter Must Restore Faith Before He Can WinTannehill's Defining SeasonHeading For Home: An Ode to Jim Morris. (For our column page, browse MiamiHerald/GregCote).

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

Twitter @gregcote

June 30, 2018

When an American newspaper covers its own tragedy. On the Annapolis murders; plus MLS Miami's pitch-perfect approach to marketing (latest column), World Cup odds for 16 teams still standing & more

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

1) It's SATURDAY, JUNE 30. Farewell, June. You did your best. 2) Want to surprise the Dolfans in your life? Check out our 'Fins At 50' book on Amazon. 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Variables that could favor Dolphins, defending the 305 as a sports town, Greg Norman wearing only a hat, latest Back In My Day video & more. 4) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook and Instagram.

CapitalON THE NEWSPAPER MURDERS IN ANNAPOLIS: Sorrow this week for the five victims killed and others wounded by the gunman who Thursday shot up the offices of the Capital Gazette newspaper in Annapolis, Md. Strength to their loved ones. The five killed: Gerald Fischman, Rob Hiaasen, John McNamara, Rebecca Smith and Wendi Winters. (Hiaasen was the brother of Miami Herald columnist and author Carl Hiaasen). I won't name the human excrement who has been charged in the murders, a man who reportedly had a vendetta against the newspaper. The fear moving forward: That the next assault on journalists might be politically motivated as blatant attacks on the First Amendment and unjustified disparaging of journalists continues to spew from the White House. The president of the United States cannot continue to relentlessly, egregiously and unfairly portray journalists as "fake news" purveyors, as the enemy of the people, and not expect that might eventually result in violence. At right: An American newspaper covers its own tragedy.

BecksMLS MIAMI'S MARKETING IS PITCH-PERFECT -- AND RIGHT FOR THE TIMES: The David Beckham group's emerging strategy to sell Major League Soccer in Miami is perfect. But it is more than just right for this particular market. It is right for the times. It is a reminder for America. Inclusiveness. Diversity. Open arms. The principles that once made us who we were, principles that seem to be slipping away, are being encouraged by MLS Miami. No, embraced. That is the theme of my latest column. To read it in full, click MLS Miami Says All Are Welcome. Beckham is pictured at right. Our two other most recent columns from this week: 7 Reasons the Dolphins Could Be OK. And Time to Flip the Old Narrative On Miami As a Sports Town.

Other recent columns: Can Riley Rescue Heat From Purgatory? When 3 World Cup Legends Were Ours. Also: End the Illogical Shame and Get Howard in the HallJeter Must Restore Faith Before He Can WinTannehill's Defining SeasonHeading For Home: An Ode to Jim Morris.

BrazilKNOCKOUT STAGE: WORLD CUP ODDS FOR THE FINAL 16 TEAMS: [Update: France today eliminated Argentina, 4-3]. As knockout games begin today, prediction website FiveThirtyEight.com offers percentage likelihoods of the final 16 teams winning the World Cup, with Brazil (at 25 percent, its shield pictured) and Spain (20%) the clear favorites. Next come Belgium at 9%, France and England both 8%, Croatia 6% and Argentina and Portugal both 5%. The real longshots are Colombia, Uruguay and Switzerland all 3%, Sweden 2% and Denmark and host Russia both 1%. Mexico and Japan are given a negligible trace below 1%. Quick aside: FiveThirtyEight.com seems to have landed on its feet despite telling us for months, right up to election day, that Hillary Clinton would beat Donald Trump. 

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. (For our most recent columns, browse MiamiHerald/GregCote).

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

Twitter @gregcote

June 08, 2018

In search of Dolphins' elusive Grand Plan. My new column; plus how Trump hijacked NFL anthem protest cause, The List (NBA Finals sweeps), LeBron Summer Sweepstakes & more

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

1) It's FRIDAY, JUNE 8. Happy to be on this morning talking Miami sports with my old buddy Dan Sileo on 97.3 The Fan in San Diego. 2) Delight the Dolfans in your life with the perfect anytime-gift: our 'Fins At 50' book. Their reaction is sure to be: "Wait. Greg Cote wrote a BOOK!?" Click on Amazon to check it out. 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Hot Button Top 10, your LeBron vs. Michael poll verdict, Dolphins Beef-O-Meter, 4-Man Outfield & more. 4) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook and Instagram.

GaseIN SEARCH OF THE DOLPHINS' GRAND PLAN (OR TO SEE IF THERE IS ONE): I have coined it, "The Dolphins Disconnect" -- the gulf between the optimism you hear from Adam Gase (pictured) and his team and the consistently low expectations on the outside. The latest indication: ESPN's annual NFL offseason grades for each team, out this week. Miami is given a C-minus, ranking 30th of the 32 teams. (Detroit and Carolina are the only lower-graded teams, each with a D, while elsewhere in the AFC East, the Patriots get an A-minus, the the Jets a B and the Bills a C). I tackle the state of the Dolphins in my latest column. To read, click In Search of the Dolphins' Elusive Grand Plan.

SignHOW TRUMP'S AWFUL (YET BRILLIANT) SUBTERFUGE HIJACKED NFL PROTEST CAUSE: Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins held signs such as the one pictured -- YOU AREN'T LISTENING -- in response to media questions yesterday about Don Trump uninviting his team from a White House visit. It is the perfect sign of frustration to illustrate my most recent column, on how President Trump's awful yet calculated and politically self-serving subterfuge -- lying -- has brilliantly (for him) hijacked the NFL's anthem protest cause to wrongly make it about the flag and patriotism. As myself,  Jenkins and others will remind, the cause is about police shootings of unarmed black men. It is about racism, profiling and social injustice. It is about trying to open eyes and make America better. It is not about what Trump says it is as he unfairly paints protesting players as un-American ingrates who should be fired from the league -- almost as if First Amendment rights such as freedom of expression did not exist. To read my column, click on Uninvited Eagles Latest Pawns In Trump's Subterfuge.

LebLEBRON WON'T WIN JUNE. BUT HE'LL WIN JULY: A 3-0 NBA Finals series hole entering tonight's Game 4 all but verifies LeBron James won't be winning the championship. The question is, who'll be winning LeBron James a few weeks later, in free agency? In this week's column, I list what I consider to be the four favorites in order. Is the Miami Heat one of them? To read the column, click Handicapping the LeBron Summer SweepstakesOther most recent columns: When Sports Stopped Being All Fun & GamesThe King, Indeed: LeBron Tops Michael / NFL Hiding Problem And Hoping It Goes Away / Tannehill's Defining Season / A Solution To Jeter's Impatience / Heading For Home: An Ode to Jim Morris / Confessions of a Lifelong Dolfan / Crossing the Line On American Sports' Pandering For Foreign Money.

THE LIST: NBA FINALS SWEEPS: This is the 72nd NBA Finals. With Golden State now leading Cleveland 3-0, it could be only the ninth Finals to end in a sweep. The eight 4-0 shutouts in league history:

Year    Result                                                                           Winning coach, Finals MVP

1959   Boston Celtics def. Minneapolis Lakers               Red Auerbach, Elgin Baylor

1971   Milwaukee Bucks def. Baltimore Bullets              Larry Costello, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

1975   Golden State Warriors def. Washington Bullets  Al Attles, Rick Barry

1983   Philadelphia 76ers def. Los Angeles Lakers        Billy Cunningham, Moses Malone

1989   Detroit Pistons def. Los Angeles Lakers              Chuck Daly, Joe Dumars

1995   Houston Rockets def. Orlando Magic                   Rudy Tomjanovich, Hakeem Olajuwon

2002   Los Angeles Lakers def. New Jersey Nets          Phil Jackson, Shaquille O'Neal

2007   San Antonio Spurs def. Cleveland Cavaliers      Gregg Popovich, Tony Parker

Notes: No Finals MVP was named in 1959; Baylor was series' leading scorer. Losing Lakers coach in 1983 and '89 was current Heat president Pat Riley.

OUR APSE CONTEST-HONORED COLUMNSThe Associated Press Sports Editors 2018 writing awards ranked me the No. 5 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. (For all of our most recent columns, browse MiamiHerald/GregCote).

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

Twitter @gregcote

May 26, 2018

It's longshot, but here's the case for Canes baseball and Jim Morris to still make NCAA Tournament; plus Roger Goodell's Hell Week (new column), major spike in support for Ryan Tannehill & more

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

1) It's SATURDAY, MAY 26. Flabbergast and thrill the Dolfans in your life with our 'Fins At 50' book. Their reaction is sure to be: "Wait. Greg Cote wrote a BOOK!?" Click on Amazon to check it out. 2) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Ryan Tannehill at crossroads with poll, Canes baseball in ACC tourney, newest Back In My Day video, The List (richest U.S. zip codes) & more. 3) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook and Instagram.

Latest column: Roger Goodell's Hell Week: Why the NFL's new national-anthem protest policy is blowing up in the commissioner's face is the topic of my latest column. To read it in full, click, Hell Week For Goodell.

THE CASE FOR CANES BASEBALL TO STILL MAKE NCAA TOURNAMENT: Jim Morris' happy ending up to NCAA's baseball selection committee now. His Miami Hurricanes lost to Clemson 7-1 Thursday Canesbbnight in the second round of the ACC Tournament in Durham, N.C. in what may or may not have been the final game ever for the retiring UM coach. There was no guarantee but some belief that a Canes win last night would have earned an invite to the NCAA Tournament and a shot at reaching the College World Series in Omaha, while a loss would render that happy ending a longshot for Morris and UM. We'll know Monday when the NCAA sets its 64-team postseason field. Do I think Miami will get in? No. I'd put it at around a 10 percent shot. The U would make it if emotion had a role. Miami is a four-time national champion sending off the fourth-winningest major-school coach in history. That at least should earn benefit of doubt in a close, either/or call. But there still are rational arguments why UM, even with a just-OK 28-26 overall record, should have a shot at one of the 33 at-large invitations to be given. Miami plays in the toughest baseball conference in the America -- four teams in the national Top 10 -- and had a 16-13 ACC record. Almost one-third of its games (17 of 54) were against ranked opponents, and Miami was 9-8 against that top competition. The Canes rose from the dead to win 11 games in a row prior to last night's loss. And Miami's strength of schedule ranked No. 16 in the nation. On merit or as a going-away gift to Morris, UM sneaking into the NCAA Tournament would be a nice surprise, but not one unwarranted.

ProtestNFL'S NATIONAL-ANTHEM SOLUTION? HIDE THE PROBLEM. LITERALLY: King Sport's new national-anthem policy revealed Wednesday -- the solution to its two-year public relations mess -- is to hide the problem, quite literally. Henceforth, players on the field must stand or be subject to league and team fines. Those who wish not to stand must stay in the lockerroom, hidden out of view. I tackle this new policy in my latest column; to read, click NFL Hiding Problem And Hoping It Goes Away. What they are doing is a Band-Aid on the wound, makeup that won't hide the scar. There still will be kneelers on the sideline, I predict, if not as many, because the cause is bigger than football. It's about social justice and racial equality, even as those including President Trump wish to make it about disrespecting the flag. Just yesterday, Trump said those who don't stand for the anthem maybe "shouldn't be in the country," a chilling echo of the love-it-or-leave-it mindset we saw arise in the 1960s to counter Vietnam protests. The new NFL policy will make (most) of the kneelers disappear from view, but it won't make the problem or the will to fight it go away. Pictured: Colin Kaepernick and what kicked off the protests in 2016. Quick aside: Kaepernick remains unemployed. 

Our most recent other columns: Tannehill's Defining Season as the Dolphins QB's comeback season begins with offseason practices. Also: A Solution To Jeter's ImpatienceHeading For Home: An Ode to Jim MorrisNBA Rolling A Pair of 7sSupremes Got It Right On Sports BettingConfessions of a Lifelong DolfanCrossing the Line On American Sports' Pandering For Foreign Money.

POLL RESULT: SUPPORT FOR TANNEHILL STILL NOT GREAT -- BUT IT'S GROWING: Call it the "Absence Makes the Heart Grow Fonder" effect. We asked this week, "What best describes your confidence level, right now, in Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill?" We had previously taken the same blogpoll with an identically worded question and answer-options in October 2016, midseason two years ago, prior to Tannehill's first injury. The uptick in faith in Tannehill is pretty dramatic:

TannyAnswer                2016        Now

Solid                     8.70%     31.17%

Moderate             13.97       25.97

Wavering             30.15       20.78

Low                     47.18       22.08

Broken down to generally favorable (solid/moderate) vs. generally unfavorable (wavering/low), Tannehill's plus-rating has gone from 22.67 percent to 57.14%, while his negative score has shrunk from 77.33% to 42.86%. There still is not a strong consensus of support for Tannehill, but there seems to be a reboot on benefit of doubt as he begins his comeback season from the knee injuries that ended his '16 early and erased all of last season. (By the way, the  new tattoo visible here on Tanny's right biceps is a laurel wreath, in honor of his wife Lauren. How cute is that!)

OUR APSE CONTEST-HONORED COLUMNSThe Associated Press Sports Editors writing contest ranked me the No. 5 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.

For all of our more recent columns, browse MiamiHerald/GregCote.

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

Twitter @gregcote

April 07, 2018

Heat's 1st-round playoff opponent: Who do you want? New poll too close to call. Last day to vote!; plus 4-Man Outfield (updated), 'Dream Still Lives' video & more

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

1) It's SATURDAY, APRIL 7. Surprise and thrill the Dolfans in your life with our 'Fins At 50' book. Click on Amazon to check it out. 2) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Dolphins and Gronk, Heat playoff's ball of confusion, 4-Man Outfield & more. 3) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook and Instagram.

BuddiesON THE HEAT'S OPENING PLAYOFF OPPONENT: WHO DO YOU WANT?: If the season were over right now, the 6th-seed Heat would face the 3-seed 76ers in the first round of the playoffs after Philly beat and supplanted the Cavaliers and LeBron James last night. Pictured right, we imagine BFFs 'Bron and D-Wade -- hell-bent to deter lipreaders -- are whispering about the possibility they too may meet. Because the season is not over right now. Miami has two games left after last night's loss at the Knicks. That means the Heat still could finish 6th, 7th or 8th and the opening playoff opponent still could be the Raptors, Celtics, 76ers or Cavs. I explore all of this in my latest column; to read, click For Heat, 1 Team to Avoid. Staying out of the 8th seed and avoiding Toronto is, to me, paramount. That's partly because the Celtics are without injured Kyrie Irving, the hot Sixers may be without Joel Embiid, and LeBron's Cavs have not been as dominant as years past. For whatever reason, who do you hope is the Heat's opening playoff foe? Is it the opponent you think would be easiest to beat? Is it the series you'd most want to watch? Poll is alphabetical by city name. Vote now!

Other most recent columns: Dolphins and Gronk, Dave Shula, Marlins: Hop aboard our flight of fancy: The Case For Gronk to Dolphins  /  He'd been out of coaching since 1996, now Don Shula's eldest son is back: Dave Shula Goes Home Again  /  And on baseball's Opening Day: Marlins' Ballpark Experience Only Missing One Thing.

Yelich 4manofUPDATED: 'THE FOUR-MAN OUTFIELD': OL' YELICH OUT FRONT: Throughout the MLB season -- just for fun -- I'm comparing and updating the ongoing performances of the three Marlins outfield starters traded away during the offseason and current Marlins center fielder Lewis Brinson, the best prospect to arrive in the deals. Unfair to compare three established stars with a rookie? Boo hoo. Who said life was fair! Plus, remember: Just for fun! We'll base our continually updated rankings on OPS (on-base plus slugging). Early days, but all four are struggling to some degree except Yelich -- and now he's sidelined by an oblique (abdominal) issue. The latest, entering Saturday play:

Player, Team                             OPS     G   AB   R   H   BI   D-T-HR    AVG. 

1. Christian Yelich, Brewers        .984   6   26    6  10    5    2-0-1      .385

2. Giancarlo Stanton, Yankees     .843   8   33    5   7    7    2-0-3      .212

3. Marcell Ozuna, Cardinals        .667    7   30    3   8    5    1-0-1      .267

4. Lewis Brinson, Marlins            .443    7   35    3   7    1    0-0-0      .200

'DREAM STILL LIVES': AN MLK SALUTE: Stevie Wonder assembled dozens of notables and others for a 'Dream Still Lives' video marking the 50th anniversary of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King. The few folks going for humor (talking to you, Stern) were off-key notes, but overall a pretty powerful piece:

OUR APSE CONTEST-HONORED COLUMNSThe Associated Press Sports Editors writing contest ranked me the No. 5 national sports columnist in the major-outlet category. Thanks to APSE. Here are our 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.

Select additional columns: Gore Continues Dolphins' Strange Offseason / Wayne Huizenga: A Legacy Indelible Serena Fighting Her Career Sunset. And She Has Company / Canes QB Battle One Of Strength, Not Desperation / Don't Shut Up, Get Louder / Top 25 Miami Sports Figures For 2018 / Tiger Still Best Thing In Golf, But Reasons Why Have Changed / Jeter's Shameful Decimation Of Marlins Overshadows Season / Our two on the Parkland tragedy: MSD On Their Jerseys, A Community In Their Hearts and Sports Mourns. We All Mourn, Then Wait For The Next Tragedy While Leaders Do Nothing / Our Dwyane Wade homecoming trilogy: Only 3 Points, But He Owned The NightHeat Have Big Plans For Wade 2.0 and Welcome Home, D.Wade / Also: Dear Canton: Call Zach. Farewell, RubinBeckham's Dream Becomes A TeamWhen Victims Seize The PowerThe Godfather SpeaksRegret, Tears & a Legacy's Dark Shadow. Thank You, Edwin Pope.

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

Twitter @gregcote