December 08, 2018

Heisman Trophy poll: Which 2018 finalist should win? Last chance to vote!; plus NFL Week 14 picks for Dolphins-Patriots and the rest, Raconteurs news, Pearl Harbor Day & more

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

Pearl1) It's SATURDAY, DECEMBER 8. It was 77 years ago yesterday... 2) Visit Greg Cote Tuesday for the link to this week's LeBatard Show best-of podcast. Includes the new Back In My Day. 3) Football is raging and the holidays are upon us. That means it's the perfect time to delight Dolfans you know with the gift of our 'Fins At 50' book. Check it out on Amazon. 4) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Ranking 7 bowl games of most SoFla interest, Herald NFL QB rankings, Pix 'n Fantasy results, latest Back In My Day video & more. 5) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook and Instagram.

Personal note: I've been burning end-of-year vacation days and so have not had as many columns lately. Here are a few of my most  recent: Oklahoma, College Football Win the Day / Why A Canes Defender Snubbed by ACC Deserves All-America Honors / Inside Lane on Road to Canton, Cooperstown / Tannehill's Litmus Test Is Pass or Fail / Oh What We Had, And What We Lost / Wade's World Bigger Than Hoops, And Good For Him / Honeymoon Over: How Collapsing Seasons Put Heat on Gase, Richt.

PicksNFL WEEK 14 PICKS: DOLPHINS-PATRIOTS, GAME OF WEEK, UPSETS AND THE REST: Our parade-worthy season of NFL picks continues as we're at a .689 winning percentage overall and .589 against the point spread entering Week 14. Last week’s 11-5 mark straight-up and 10-5-1 vs. the Evil Betting Line included yet another Upset of the Week bull's-eye with Jaguars handling Colts (“Aawwk!”), a mini-upset with Ravens winning in Atlanta, and four ‘dogs-with-polnts in Cardinals, Giants, Bucs and Jets. (Mixed start last night on the new week; had Tennessee winning, but misfired thinking Jacksonville would cover). We move on! The stretch run to the playoffs is upon is, and by my eye 14 of 16 games this week have a realistic bearing on jockeying for the postseason. Including Patriots-at-Dolphins, of course. Will Miami get the home upset it could dearly use? Our answer may surprise you. Visit Week 14 Gems for all of our latest picks.

HeismanHEISMAN POLL: WHICH FINALIST DESERVES TO WIN ON SATURDAY?: Tomorrow the Heisman Trophy is awarded to (ostensibly) the best player in college football for 2018. That all three finalists are quarterbacks is no surprise. That there is actual drama in who might win is a surprise. It was 2009 (Mark Ingram won) when we there was last doubt who'd win and the final vote was truly close. But that could happen again. Alabama's Tua Tagovailoa was seen as the clear frontrunner most of the season but now Oklahoma's Kyler Murray is seen as having drawn even with a great chance to take the famous stiff-arm trophy. Ohio State's Dwayne Haskins is a real longshot. So here's your vote. Who most deserves to win? Poll is alphabetical, of course. Vote now!

RacsRACONTEURS NEWS: Happy to know the Raconteurs are reuniting for a new album after several years. The sideband fronted by Jack White and Brendan Benson is now in the process of pressing the first single (see photo) from a forthcoming album, out soon. (Longtime careful readers know that Brendan Benson, pictured second from left here, is the son of one of my best friends...)

Select other recent columns: NASCAR Needs A Next Big ThingDolfans, Your Team Is Not Easy To LoveNo More Excuses, Florida PanthersNFL 2018 Team RankingsDolphins? Heat? Nope. UM Football Owns This TownTo 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

December 04, 2018

Dolfan Satisfaction Meter: 15.6%; plus Fins beat Buffalo 21-17, improve to 6-6 with must-win; also, our new column on CFP final four, Canes to Pinstripe Bowl, latest Hot Button Top 10 (updated) & more

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

1) It's MONDAY, DECEMBER 3. Happy new month, all! Ready, set ... spend! 2) Football is raging and the holidays are upon us. That means it's the perfect time to delight Dolfans you know with the gift of our 'Fins At 50' book. Check it out on Amazon. 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): NFL Week 13 picks, R.I.P. President Bush, ranking college conference title games, your Cooperstown verdict & more. 4) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook and Instagram.

CfpNew column: On the College Football Playoff final four: There was anger and wailing from at least three campuses, but here's why the CFP got it right Sunday with Oklahoma for the final spot. Visit Oklahoma, College Football Win the Day for my latest column. By the way, Miami Hurricanes headed to the Pinstripe Bowl in New York. So much for all the "experts" guessing Gator Bowl!

Select recent columns: Why A Canes Defender Snubbed by ACC Deserves All-America Honors / Inside Lane on Road to Canton, Cooperstown / Tannehill's Litmus Test Is Pass or Fail / Oh What We Had, And What We Lost / Wade's World Bigger Than Hoops, And Good For Him / Honeymoon Over: How Collapsing Seasons Put Heat on Gase, Richt.

DsmDOLFAN SATISFACTION METER: G12: 15.6%: Results are certified in the latest Dolfan Satisfaction Meter postgame poll, and they show 15.6 percent overall approval -- the combination of "very" and "somewhat" satisfied votes -- in the wake of Sunday's 21-17 victory vs. Buffalo putting Miami's season record at 6-6. 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 there was 29%).

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.

G10: 5.8% following 31-12 loss at Green Bay.

G11: 4.1% following 27-24 loss at Indianapolis.

G12: 15.6% following 21-17 victory vs. Buffalo.

Next poll: Dec. 9 following game vs. New England.

BufmiaG12: BUFFALO AT DOLPHINS: IT'S MUST-WIN, MUST-PRAY IN PLAYOFF HUNT: Postgame thoughts: Miami hangs on, survives last-minute Hail Mary throw, wins 21-7 to improved to 6-6 and stay alive in playoff chase. Tannehill's three TD passes and 1-3.7 rating win the day. Defense solid other than allowing Bills QB Allen to scramble for 135 yards. All Miami did was beat a bad team at home, and not easily. Still, the win was dearly needed, making it a good day ..... Halftime thoughts: Tannehill an efficient 10-for-15 for 96 yards and two TDs have Fins up 14-6 in must-win game to stay in playoff hunt. Perry with big special-teams takeaway on muffed Bills punt return. Defense has limited Buffs to 122 total net yards, though Fins have only 115 themselves. Bills are bad, Miami is doing what it should ..... Original postThanksgiving over and bye weeks done means the stretch run to the NFL playoffs has begun. With the Dolphins 5-6 and the Bills 4-7 let's not pretend this game is a major player in the hunt, but it is lurking on the periphery. Miami must run the table to be assured a postseason ticket, whereas winning four of the past five might be good enough. It must start today, at home as a 4-point favorite, against an inferior Buffalo. Drop this 1 p.m. game before CBS cameras and all realistic hope is gone for Miami. Forecast website fivethirtyeight.com puts Miami’s postseason likelihood entering NFL Week 13 at 5 percent, so this is must-win ... followed by must-pray. Bet line opened at Fins by 6 but sank fast in another reminder how little faith there is in Miami. Or maybe somebody (anybody?) is impressed that Buffs have won straight over teams that are a combined 6-16? Give Dolphins this much, at least. They guard the 3-0-5 pretty well. Fins are 4-1 at home and on a 6-2 roll in home division games. And Ryan Tannehill, in his second game back from injury, is on a 7-0 gallop in home starts. Miami figures to be without top target and catchman Danny Amendola (knee), but Fins should be able to run big on Williams’ soft ground D. On the other side, rookie QB Josh Allen has a paucity of weapons. I like Miami to cover but will be mindful of this trend: Buffalo has been outscored 141-9 in the first half of its past six losses, so it could be an ominous sign of Fins don’t jump out early. Buffs swept Miami last year. A dollop of payback arrives Sunday. My pick: Dolphins, 27-16.

Visit Week 13 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. COLLEGE FOOTBALL: Oklahoma grabs fourth and final spot: No doubt unbeatens Alabama, Clemson and Notre Dame would be 1-2-3 Sunday when the College Football Playoff handed out its four invitations (although there was mucho doubt for the Crimson Tide Saturday before that late rally past Georgia). The question was who would replace Georgia in the big four, which debate among Oklahoma, Ohio State and even Georgia and UCF. Whomever said the CFP would take the argument out of college football was thankfully wrong.

2. DOLPHINS: Tannehill lifts Miami past Buffalo in all but must-win: The Dolphins are now 6-6 after a 21-17 home win over the rival Bills Sunday. That was the easy part. Fins face Patriots and Vikings next.

3. HURRICANES: It's UM-Wisconsin in the Pinstripe Bowl: Sunday came the Miami Hurricanes' consolation prize for a disappointing season. As bowl bids came out nationwide, most experts had pegged UM for the Gator Bowl in Jacksonville, but the destination turned out to be the Pinstripe at Yankee Stadium vs. Wisconsin. A year ago these two met in the Orange Bowl. Now they're relegated after 7-5 seasons.

4. HEAT: Miami wins, tries to shake malaise: The Heat are now 9-13 at the NBA season's quarter mark after beating Utah behind Hassan Whiteside's 20/20 game Sunday. It's 5-8 at home. Keep that wakeup alarm sounding.

5. PANTHERS: Cats still looking for a spark: Florida continues in midst of an eight-game homestand in search of a spark as NHL season nears its one-third mark. Cats are 10-15 and off playoff pace. Another local wakeup call, please?

6. MARLINS: Realmuto speculation heating up: As the Dec. 9 start of the baseball winter meetings nears, speculation heats about who might be Miami's trade partner for all-star catcher J.T. Reamuto. The Yankees, Dodgers, Brewers and Astros are among the mentioned. You'd like to think Miami might spend big to keep Realmuto, then you remember, nah, these are the Marlins!

7. UM HOOPS: Canes men are falling apart!: Since starting 5-0 the UM men have lost three straight including Saturday's defeat against Yale. That's right. YALE! At least the Canes women are a bit better, 7-2 and ranked No. 21 one game into an eight-game homestand.

8. NFL: Chiefs abruptly cut star RB Hunt: Kareem Hunt led the NFL in rushing last season and is fifth this year and at 23 was a bright, rising star. Now he's unemployed and facing a league suspension after the video release of him committing battery against a female. File it away under Dumbass Athletes. Thick file, by the way.

9. SOCCER: MLS championship set: Atlanta United will host Portland Timbers this coming Saturday Dec. 8 in the MLS Cup championship match. Atlanta is in only its second season in the league. See, that's how fast you can go from nonexistent to really good, Miami.

10. HORSE RACING: Gulfstream winter meet underway: Gulfstream Park in Hallandale opened its winter session Saturday. It's where you can go to gamble, dine, shop and, time permitting, maybe even catch horse race! 

Missing the HB10 cut: Thinking some more about last week's Phil-Tiger match, and it was still boring ..... Update: Countdown now 2,759 days (give or take) until Miami hosts its first match in the 2026 World Cup.

Select other columns: NASCAR Needs A Next Big ThingDolfans, Your Team Is Not Easy To LoveNo More Excuses, Florida PanthersNFL 2018 Team RankingsDolphins? Heat? Nope. UM Football Owns This TownTo 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 29, 2018

UM's Gerald Willis III / All-America push: All abooaarrd! With hype video, my column; plus your 2019 Cooperstown ballot. Last day to vote!; also, Cowboys-Saints pick, Herald NFL QB rankings, Pix 'n Fantasy results, college State of the State rank & more

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

1) It's THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 29. Football is raging and the holidays are upon us. That means it's the perfect time to delight Dolfans you know with the gift of our 'Fins At 50' book. Check it out on Amazon. 2) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Dolphins fall at Indy with DSM poll, Hot Button Top 10 & more. 3) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook and Instagram.

GwillisUM's Gerald Willis / All-America campaign: All aboooaaarrrd!: Hurricanes defensive tackle Gerald Willis III (pictured) got snubbed by the All-ACC first team, but Miami nonetheless has chosen Willis to push for All-America  honors, and I'm on board. UM's promo video for Willis' candidacy is below. He'd be the first Canes DT so honored since Warren Sapp in 1994. To read my latest column, visit Why A Canes Defender Snubbed by ACC Deserves All-America Honors.

Cowboys-Saints NFL pick: The Cowboys have a clear path to a huge upset tonight. But the Saints have answer waiting. Visit Thursday Gem for tonight's pick.

Other select most recent columns: Inside Lane on Road to Canton, Cooperstown / Tannehill's Litmus Test Is Pass or Fail. Also: Oh What We Had, And What We Lost (LeBron's return to Miami with Lakers) / NASCAR Needs A Next Big Thing / Wade's World Bigger Than Hoops, And Good For Him / Honeymoon Over: How Collapsing Seasons Put Heat on Gase, Richt.

BbhfBASEBALL HALL OF FAME. YOUR BALLOT. VOTE NOW!: There are 35 names on the new Baseball Hall of Fame ballot for 2019 induction -- 15 back for another shot and a big 20 first-timers. But of the 35, at least half have zero shot, no chance. (Besides, 35 names is a long-ass ballot!) So I have winnowed this ballot to include the nine returning players who got at least 20 percent of the vote last year, and added the four newcomers who, by general consensus, have the best chance. The names are combined and presented alphabetically, 13 in all. If I've left anybody off, it's because I meant to. (Sorry, Juan Pierre!) On the actual ballot, BBWAA voters (such as myself) get to vote for as many as 10 of the 35. Here, I'm letting you pick up to five (5) of the 13. Disclaimer: This poll is for fun only. The results will have no influence over my own official ballot. Ready? What five players from this list most deserve 2019 induction? Vote!  

Vote for up to your top five (5)

Deciphering a five-vote ballot: In this poll, with five votes per person allowed, 20 percent would be a perfect total for a player to get if everyone cast all five votes. Take a player's total and multiply by five to get the percentage of times that player was included on a five-vote ballot. In other words, leader Mariano Rivera is being included on better than 90% of all ballots.

RIVERS IS FLOWING / MIAMI HERALD NFL QB RANKINGS / WEEK 12: Thanksgiving Week kicks off the start of the NFL playoff push and also the stretch run in our Herald NFL quarterback rankings. The Chargers' Philip Rivers (pictured) takes Week 12 honors with a 53.95-point game to edge Vikings Kirk Cousins by a couple of points. Saint Drew Brees maintains his overall season lead. Because our rankings are cumulative, players on a bye week take a temporary hit that evens out over the course of a season. With byes done, our playing field is now level to the finish line! 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 25 table (plus Dolphins) entering Week 13:

MIAMI HERALD PASS RANKINGS / WEEK 12
RK    LW    Player, Team                       WK12         Season

1       1       Drew Brees, NO                   30.55         475.75

2       4       Matt Ryan, ATL                    44.85         447.10

3       2       Patrick Mahomes, KC            BYE           444.40

4       5       Kirk Cousins, MIN                 51.10         430.95

5       3       Jared Goff, LAR                   BYE           422.35

6       7       Andrew Luck, IND                48.15         409.60

7       6       Ben Roethlisberger, PIT        46.10         408.20

8       8       Philip Rivers, LAC                53.95         389.95

9       11     Cam Newton, CAR               35.80          350.95

10     10     Tom Brady, NE                     34.15          349.55

11     12     Eli Manning, NYG                 29.85          343.65

12     9       Aaron Rodgers, GB               18.90         340.05

13     14     Matthew Stafford, DET         23.80         321.05

14     16     Deshaun Watson, HOU          35.50         320.35

15     17     Russell Wilson, SEA              40.95          319.55

16     13     Derek Carr, OAK                   10.70         308.35

17     18     Carson Wentz, PHI               31.80          307.00

18     15     Mitch Trubisky, CHI               DNP           290.45

19     22     Dak Prescott, DAL               38.45          277.35

20     20     Case Keenum, DEN              22.85          272.10

21     19     Andy Dalton, CIN                  8.00          270.30

22     21     Joe Flacco, BAL                    DNP           246.25

23     26     Baker Mayfield, CLE            41.90          241.10

24     23     Alex Smith, WAS                   DNP           236.00

25     24t    Blake Bortles, JAC               4.35           229.65

29     31     Ryan Tannehill, MIA             25.20         137.80

31     29     Brock Osweiler, MIA              DNP           126.35

Bubble: Ryan Fitzpatrick, TB, 225.30. Week 12 best: Rivers, LAC, 53.95 (28-29, 259, 3-0 in win). Week 12 worst: Bortles, JAC, 4.35 (12-23, 127, 1-2 in loss).

Picks LobosNFL WEEK 12 PIX 'N FANTASY RESULTS: GOOD, BAD: 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 picksGood. Our strong season continues. We were a solid 11-4 straight-up last week and a nifty 10-5 against the spread. Nailed another Upset of the Week with Bills over Jags ("Aawwk!") and had three 'dogs-with-points in Dolphins, Giants and Seahawks. Greg's LobosBad. Lobos fall to 4-8 with a 117.1-94.8 loss to Stugotz, despite a heroic 29.4 from Deshaun Watson Monday night. With only one week left in the regular season the 'Bos are out of playoff contention and rightly so. We sucked this season, from the Le'Veon Bell nightmare on down. Only drama left: Who'll win season MVL honors. #WeAreTheLobos!

StateCOTE'S STATE OF THE STATE RANKINGS: Each Tuesday I rank the state's seven FBS-level college football teams. Here's the latest, with one final, post-bowls ranking yet to come: 1. UCF (11-0); 2. Florida (9-3); 3. Miami (7-5); 4. Florida State (5-7); 5. South Florida (7-5); 6. FIU (8-4); 7. FAU (5-7).

Select other columns: Dolfans, Your Team Is Not Easy To LoveNo More Excuses, Florida PanthersNFL 2018 Team RankingsDolphins? Heat? Nope. UM Football Owns This TownTo 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 26, 2018

Canesfan Satisfaction Meter: 32.7%; plus UM beats Pitt 24-3 for 7-5 regular season; also, Tannehill's Litmus Test, Elton in Sunrise concert review, other state Collball & more

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

1) It's SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 25. Hope y'all are enjoying your long Thanksgiving Weekend! 2) Football is raging and the holidays are upon us. That means it's the perfect time to delight Dolfans you know with the gift of our 'Fins At 50' book. Check it out on Amazon. 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Our Thanksgiving thank-yous, NFL Week 12 and Turkey Day picks & more. 4) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook and Instagram.

New column: Tannehill has 6 games to earn his Miami future: Dolphins QB Ryan Tannehill returns Sunday at Indianapolis from his latest injury, with Miami at 5-5 likely needing at least four wins in the final six games to make the playoffs. This is Tannehill's Litmus test. No excuses. He must stay healthy, and perform like the highly paid, top-10-drafted passer he is. This is my latest column. Visit Tannehill's Litmus Test Is Pass or Fail.

Other select recent columns: On LeBron's return to Miami with Lakers: Oh What We Had, And What We Lost. Also: Latest NFL picks: Week 12 Gems. And NASCAR Needs A Next Big ThingWade's World Bigger Than Hoops, And Good For HimHoneymoon Over: How Collapsing Seasons Put Heat on Gase, Richt.

CsmCANESFAN SATISFACTION METER: G12: 32.7%: Results are certified in the latest Canesfan Satisfaction Meter postgame poll, and they show 32.7 percent overall approval -- the combination of "very" and "somewhat" satisfied votes -- in the wake of Saturday's 24-3 Miami victory over Pitt putting Miami's final regular season record at 7-5 overall and 4-4 in the ACC. The CSM is your invitation after every Canes football game -- no matter the result or opponent -- to vote on your overall satisfaction with the team and season in a continuing weekly gauge of how UM football fans are feeling. Criteria for voting is your own, but I suggest you consider the most recent game's performance and caliber of opponent, the season as a whole, the program's direction and your overall degree of optimism -- all in the context of reasonable expectations. Results are certified official the morning after one full day of voting. In this case that was around 8:30 a.m. today/Monday. (The CSM also takes place on my Twitter site @gregcote. The approval rate there was 25%).

2018 CSM game-by game results

G1: 9.2% following 33-17 loss to LSU.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

G9: 12.1% following 20-12 loss vs. Duke.

G10: 12.6% following 27-21 loss at Georgia Tech.

G11: 50.0% following 38-14 victory at Virginia Tech.

G12: 32.7% following 24-3 victory vs. Pitt.

Next/Final poll: Date TBD following bowl game. 

PittmiaG12: HURRICANES 24, NO. 24 PITTSBURGH 3: UM DELIVERS PAYBACK WITH HUGE DEFENSIVE SHOWPostgame thoughts: A somewhat insane game. Miami mostly struggled early on offense -- especially in what turned out to be a comfortable win. N'Kosi Perry was pretty awful, going 6-for-24 for 52 yards. The total offense was 345 yards, but 148 yards of that came on three runs by Travis Homer. Great defense and DeeJay Dallas' 65-yard punt-return TD sparked UM in addition to Homer's 64-yard scoring run. The defense won this game, primarily. The good news? Canes finish a 7-5 season strong with two straight wins. The bad news (beyond this being a season of overall regression for the program)? The offense is still sputtering. Perry's proving is not complete. Miami will carry that into its bowl game, and likely into next season. Oh and by the way, Pitt is exposed as a thoroughly fraudulent rep in the ACC Championship Game. Clemson will name its score. The betting line should be 30 ..... 4Q: UM 24-3 on Dallas 3-yard scoring run. Game over. Rout on. Bowl next ..... 3Q: Canes' Davis loses fumble late in quarter ... UM 17-3 on Homer 64-yard TD run ... Pitt 3-10 on 40-yard FG abetted by pass interference penalty against UM ..... Halftime thoughts: At 10-0 at half, Miami's offense has done nada, with Perry 4-for-18 for 27 yards. But UM's defense has dominated, holding Pitt to 115 net yards, and a Dallas punt-return score gives the Canes their cushion ..... 2Q: Miami turnover. Homer loses fumble near midfield ... UM 10-0 on Dallas 65-yard punt-return TD. Score first was negated by illegal-block penalty but call was (properly) reversed. Was perfect block by Homer ..... 1Q: Perry struggling early (2-for-10, 18 yards) but defense enough to carry UM in opening quarter .... Canes' Bandy recovers fumble caused by Joghnson ... UM 3-0 on Baxa 37-yard FG after drive led by Homer's 47-yard run ..... Original post: Is it payback time (of sorts) for the Miami Hurricanes? We'll see in today's UM regular season finale at The Rock, a 3:30 kickoff on ESPN that will be the last home game for Canes seniors. Last season Miami was 10-0 and ranked No. 2 before a stunning 24-14 upset loss at Pitt sent The U's season crashing to three straight losses. "That game hurt," said Jaquan Johnson, one of UM's seniors. One year later -- exactly, to  the day -- it is Pitt, not UM, riding high entering this game and bound for the ACC Championship Game while Miami is headed for a middling bowl game. (Quick Lane Bowl in Detroit? Independence in Shreveport?) So now it is Miami in the spoiler role. The (barely) ranked Panthers are 7-4 to Miami's 6-5, but the Canes are big 5-point home favorites. I say big because it indicates bettors think Miami is the better team beyond the home-field edge. (That's questionable, and to be determined). Even after a slump-ending win at Virginia Tech, it has been a tough week for Mark Richt's Canes. First a top quarterback prospect canceled his visit to Miami, then dynamic receiver Jeff Thomas abruptly left the program in frustration. Another worry for Richt should be that Pitt arrives hot, on a four-game win streak, and with an offense averaging 247 rushing yards a game. On the other side, QB N'Kosi Perry will start a third straight for UM. "He's getting better and more and more confident," says Richt. "There were times where he missed a guy here and there [last week], but he managed the game well. You could just see his comfort level rising. One day, I believe you'll see him really come into a zone." Pitt challenges Perry with a defense that is closer to average than great, although Dan Marino's alma mater averages 2 1/2 sacks a game and is facing a shaky Miami offensive line. If the line protects Perry and he avoids turnovers, Miami should win at home, though I'd hedge by leaning to Pitt getting this many points. My pick: Hurricanes, 27-24.

OTHER STATE COLLBALL: There are seven FBS-level college teams in Florida. Here's chronological Week 13 schedule for the rest (all Saturday unless noted):

No. 9 UCF (11-0) beats South Florida (7-5), 38-10Unbeaten Knights, who had a game canceled, closed out second straight unbeaten regular season with Friday road win over state rival and will face Memphis next week in AAC title game. But UCF lost star QB McKenzie Milton to a gruesome, season-ending right knee injury, casting somber cloud over the win and season.

No. 11 Florida (9-3) beats FSU (5-7), 41-14: Gators, playing for poll 'n bowl position, were 8-point favorites at The Doak, with rival 'Noles taking their last shot at bowl-eligibility. It was the better team vs. home field and incentive. The better team won. And FSU sees its first losing season since 1976. It was a good run, Tally.

Marshall (8-3) beats FIU (8-4), 28-25: The ButchCats were 3 1/2-point home underdogs and never led, every rally falling just short. The loss eliminated FIU from a shot at reaching the Conference USA championship game.

Charlotte (5-7) beats FAU (5-7), 27-24: The home-nesting Owls were big 17-point favorites to get Lane Kiffin bowl-eligible under the wire. But: No bowl for you, Lane!

Week 13 national Top 25 matchups (5)No. 6 Oklahoma beats No. 13 West Virginia, 59-56; 16-Washington beats 8-Washington State, 28-15; 10-Ohio State beats 4-Michigan, 62-29; 22-Texas A&M beats 7-LSU, 74-72 (OT); and 23-Boise State beats 21-Utah State, 33-24. (Ohio State won't now leapfrog Buckeyes into CFP top four ahead of No. 5 Georgia ... will it?)

EltonsunriseELTON DELIVERS POWERHOUSE PERFORMANCE IN SUNRISE FAREWELL: We saw Elton John last night at the sold-out, filled to the rafters Panthers' arena in Sunrise as part of his continuing marathon farewell tour. The 2 1/2-hour show lived up to, and exceeded, expectations. The thought that kept occurring: This man is too good to retire. I don't care his age (71). Or that he sometimes seems that age when he is up from his piano and tottering around the stage. When he is seated before his keys, the years disappear. His playing is the best there ever was. His voice (save for the lost highest notes) remains robustly strong. His catalog of hits is top-tier in the history of pop music. The show is all hits augmented by a sprinkling of deep-album cuts such as "All the Young Girls Love Alive." A career retrospective on the giant video screen enhances the performance. I'm a lifelong fan (and admirer of his generosity and philanthropy) who has seen him in concert too many times to count. If you have not, your chances are running out, and you will have missed something special, and irreplaceable.  

Select other recent columns: Dolfans, Your Team Is Not Easy To LoveNo More Excuses, Florida PanthersNFL 2018 Team RankingsDolphins? Heat? Nope. UM Football Owns This TownTo 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 15, 2018

Your support of Dolphins coach Adam Gase and Canes' Mark Richt: 2 polls, last chance to vote!; plus my ne With my coach Gase/Richt homeymoon's-over column; plus Herald NFL QB rankings, Pix 'n Fantasy results, college State of State rank & more

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

Marvel1) It's THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 15. R.I.P. Stan Lee, the Marvel Comics co-creator, gone this week at 95. I was a huge comic book reader as a kid, long before Comic-Cons and the nerd-trendiness of it. 2) Visit Greg Cote Tuesday for the podcast from this week's LeBatard Show on ESPN Radio. Included is my latest Back In May Day. 3) Football is raging and the holidays are upon us. That means it's the perfect time to delight Dolfans you know with the gift of our 'Fins At 50' book. Check it out on Amazon. 4) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Dolphins lose in Green Bay with DSM poll, Hot Button Top 10 & more. 5) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook and Instagram.

Newest column: Wade paternity leave helps his legacy, not hurts it: Some Heat fans think Dwyane Wade's week-plus paternity leave (he'll miss at least seven games and maybe more) is too much. I sat no and tell why in my latest column. To read it, visit Wade's World Bigger Than Hoops, And Good For Him.

Tonight's Packers-Seahawks pick: Good Thursday night game between two desperate, better-than-their-records NFC teams. Visit Thursday Gem for the pick.

GaserichtYOUR SUPPORT LEVEL FOR ADAM GASE AND MARK RICHT IS WHAT? TWO NEW POLLS. VOTE NOW!: The Dolphins and Hurricanes both are 5-5 in once- promising seasons gone bad. Both teams and head coaches are seeing downward-trending results even predating this year and each coach is the subject of some fan disenchantment on social media and fair criticism in his third season in Miami. I explore the job status, the criticism and the future of both in my latest column. To read, visit Honeymoon Over: How Collapsing Seasons Put Heat on Gase, Richt. Don't get this wrong: These polls do not presume either coach is unpopular with fans. I anticipate overall support for both. This is just for fun, to gauge strength of support relative to each other as much as anything. Read the column and then vote in both polls!

Select previous columns: Bill James Struck A Nerve, But He's More Right Than WrongMarino Set the Blueprint For MahomesState of Shock For Canes, Gators and Noles.

BIG BEN TAKES WEEK, BREES REGAINS SEASON LEAD / MIAMI HERALD NFL QB RANKINGS / WEEK 10: The Saints' Drew Brees nudges ahead of Chief Patrick Mahomes to regain the overall Bigbenseason lead in the Miami Herald's latest NFL quarterback rankings. Week 10 honors go to Steeler Ben Roethlisberger (pictured) with a big 55.40-point game on Thursday night, lifting him one spot to sixth place overall. Lower in the chart, Dolphin Brock Osweiler bumps up one spot to 29th, finally surpassing Ryan Tannehill. Because our rankings are cumulative, players on a bye week take a temporary hit that evens out over the course of a season. 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 11:

MIAMI HERALD PASS RANKINGS / WEEK 10
RK    LW    Player, Team                        WK10          Season

1       3      Drew Brees, NO                     46.25          396.05

2       1      Patrick Mahomes, KC             37.45          391.50

3       5      Matt Ryan, ATL                     46.50           373.70

4       4      Jared Goff, LAR                    43.90           371.70

5       2      Kirk Cousins, MIN                  BYE           352.75

6       7      Ben Roethlisberger, PIT         55.40           337.40

7       8      Andrew Luck, IND                 38.25           315.60

8       6      Tom Brady, NE                      13.70           315.40

9       9      Philip Rivers, LAC                 29.15           302.95

10    11      Aaron Rodgers, GB               30.95           286.55

11    12      Cam Newton, CAR                29.65           278.30

12    16      Eli Manning, NYG                 30.40           275.25

13    18      Carson Wentz, PHI               41.00           271.40

14    20      Mitch Trubisky, CHI              47.75           271.20

15    14      Derek Carr, OAK                  23.15           270.05

15    13      Matthew Stafford, DET        21.70           269.25

29    30     Brock Osweiler, MIA              16.65          126.35

30    29     Ryan Tannehill, MIA                DNP          112.60

Bubble: Matthew Stafford, DET, 269.25. Week 10 best: Roethlisberger, PIT, 55.40 (22-25, 328, 5-0 in win). Week 10 worst: Josh McCown, NYJ, 0.75 (17-34, 135, 0-2 in loss).

Picks LobosNFL WEEK 10 PIX 'N FANTASY RESULTS: WIN, WIN!: 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 picksWin! We were a decent 9-5 straight-up but on the right side (again) at 8-5-1 against the spread in Week 10, with the Colts win pushing at 3 for the tie. We nailed yet another Upset of the Week with Giants winning in San Fran last night ("Aawwk!") and also had four big 'dogs-with-points in Titans, Cardinals, Seahawks and Cowboys. (See Week 10 Gems to check my bookkeeping). Greg's LobosWin! Lobos rise to 4-6 on the year with a 147.7-48 crushing of Domonique Foxworth. He played three guys out injured -- not sly, Fox! -- but I'd have won anyway led by a huge combined 73.2 points from Zach Ertz and Tyreek Hill. (Zach making a case for season MVL honors; we'll see). Three weeks left in the regular season and the 'Bos are rallying for a playoff ticket! #WeAreTheLobos

StateofCOTE'S STATE OF THE STATE RANKINGS: Each Tuesday I rank the state's seven FBS-level college football teams. The latest: 1. UCF (9-0); 2. Florida (7-3); 3. Miami (5-5); 4. South Florida (7-3); 5. Florida State (4-6); 6. FAU (5-5); 7. FIU (7-3).

Select other recent columns: Moving Beyond Tannehill Smart But Not Easy For DolphinsDolfans, Your Team Is Not Easy To LoveWade 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 10, 2018

Poll: Will Dolphins make playoffs? Last chance to vote. Do it now!; plus NFL Week 10 picks for Fins-Packers and the rest, our Bill James/replaceable athletes column, congrats D.Wade!, the Mahomes/Marino parallel & more

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

Wadebaby1) It's SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 10. Congratulations to Heat star Dwyane Wade and wife Gabrielle Union on the birth this week of their baby girl via surrogate. A name was not immediately shared. Union-Wade had been honest about her struggle to have a child, including previous miscarriages. "Our miracle baby," said Wade. 2) Visit Greg Cote Tuesday for the podcast from this week's LeBatard Show on ESPN Radio. Included: the latest 'Back In My Day.' 3) Football season means it's the perfect time to delight Dolfans you know with our 'Fins At 50' book. Check it out on Amazon. 4) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Herald NFL QB rankings, Dolphins' '72 Perfection reaffirmed, Pix 'n Fantasy results, college State of the State rank & more. 5) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook and Instagram.

On Bill James and replaceable athletes: The sabermetrics ace and Red Sox fell into hot water this week by saying baseball players were replaceable, likening their importance to that of beer vendors. By extension he  meant athletes in general. But  here's the thing. He has a point. He may be right. I discuss in my latest column. To read it, visit Bill James Struck A Nerve, But He's More Right Than Wrong.

Picks W10pixUPSET BIRD DAY IN AMERICA!: NFL WEEK 10 PICKS FOR DOLPHINS-PACKERS AND THE REST: It's the Dolphins making a rare visit to Lambeau Field in Green Bay this Sunday, and there is bad news on two fronts. 1) The temps will be in the 20s. 2) Opponent points will be in the 30s. Dolphins-Packers tops my latest NFL selections. Visit Week 10 Gems. Included are my Game of the Week, Upset of the Week ("Aawwk!") and all the rest. Our 28th season of Friday NFL picks (online Thursdays) is rockin' hot. Entering the week we were at a .705 winning percentage overall and a big .585 against the spread. Mixed start last night as we had Steelers but winning but blew it thinking Panthers would cover. See Thursday Gem for that pick.

MahmarMARINO SET THE BLUEPRINT FOR MAHOMES: What the NFL is seeing this season from Patrick Mahomes in Kansas City  is the most instantly dynamic impact by a young quarterback since what Dan Marino brought to Miami, and to football, in 1983-84. The arrival and prolific output of the two (pictured right) are among the many similarities in the two passers 35 years apart. I explore in a column from earlier this week. Read it by visiting Marino Set the Blueprint For Mahomes.

Select other recent columns: UM, Florida and FSU have a current combined seven-game losing streak, indicative of broader struggles and challenges for the state's erstwhile Big 3. Read State of Shock For Canes, Gators and Noles. Also: Dolphins Win, But Under Cloud, Not RainbowTime For Faith In Richt, And PatienceMoving Beyond Tannehill Smart But Not Easy For DolphinsDolfans, Your Team Is Not Easy To LoveSnakebit AdamFamily Tradition. And Victor-y, Miami!

DologoPOLL: WILL THE DOLPHINS MAKE THE PLAYOFFS?: Miami is a better than expected 5-4 entering NFL Week 10, and currently sits seventh in the jockeying for six AFC playoff sports. The Dolphins are well in the hunt. But will they make it? What is the confidence level of fans? That's why this poll is here. Try to cast a dispassionate vote -- not what you hope happens, but what you honestly predict will. What you'd bet on. Go!

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 05, 2018

Canesfan Satisfaction Meter: 12.1%; plus UM loses at home to Duke 20-12, falls to 5-4; also, Biggest Disappointment Poll, NFL Week 9 picks. other state Collball & more

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

1) It's SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 4. Happy new month, all! Welcome, November. Seems like we've been waiting a year! 2) Football season means it's the right time to delight Dolfans you know with our 'Fins At 50' book. Check it out on Amazon. 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Defending Mark Richt column, Herald NFL QB rankings, Pix 'n Fantasy results, Cote's college State of State rank & more. 4) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook and Instagram.

In defense of Mark Richt and our other most recent columns: The Canes coach is feeling some heat for first time in his 2 1/2 seasons with UM. For my latest column, visit Time For Faith In Richt, And Patience. Also: Moving Beyond Tannehill Smart But Not Easy For Dolphins. Dolfans, Your Team Is Not Easy To Love (fans vent). Snakebit Adam (on luckless Adam Gase). Family Tradition (on N'Kosi Perry's $$$ video). And Victory-y, Miami! (on Marlins signing Victor Victor Mesa and Victor Jr.)

CANESFAN SATISFACTION METER: G9: 12.1%: Results are certified in the latest Canesfan Satisfaction Meter postgame poll, and they show 12.1 percent overall approval --the combination of "very" and "satisfied" votes -- in the wake of Saturday night's 20-12 home loss vs. Duke putting Miami's season record at 5-4 overall and 2-3 in the ACC. The CSM is your invitation after every Canes football game -- no matter the result or opponent -- to vote on your overall satisfaction with the team and season in a continuing weekly gauge of how UM football fans are feeling. Criteria for voting is your own, but I suggest you consider the most recent game's performance and caliber of opponent, the season as a whole, the program's direction and your overall degree of optimism -- all in the context of reasonable expectations. Results are certified official the morning after one full day of voting. In this case that was around 10:30 a.m. today/Monday. (The CSM also takes place on my Twitter site @gregcote. The approval vote there was 21%).

2018 CSM game-by game results

G1: 9.2% following 33-17 loss to LSU.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

G9: 12.1% following 20-12 loss vs. Duke.

Next poll: Nov. 10 following game at Georgia Tech.

G9: DUKE 20, @HURRICANES 12: WE SAW HOW RICHT, UM DEALT WITH THE PRESSURE. NOT WELL!: Postgame thoughts: A 20-12 home loss to Duke is worse than the two previous road losses (at Virginia and at Boston College). Miami at 5-4 is a clear regression from last season, the offense struggling. Standing out, dubiously: the continued waffling by coach Mark Richt on the use of quarterbacks Malik Rosier and N'Kosi Perry. Richt doesn't seem to have a clue as to who his QB is. Worse, neither does Miami's offense. Original post: Blog readers know that I warned y'all with a Nervous-Night Alert before the game at DukemiaVirginia. Then I directly called Miami's loss at Boston College. Duke is not quite as good, and the home game is well-timed for Miami (7 p.m. Saturday at The Rock ) -- but I must say the Blue Devils are decent and will require The U's utmost attention. Both teams are 5-3 and trending wrong, after Duke once was 4-0 and Miami 5-1. UM's two straight losses have heaped some fan criticism on coach Mark Richt and his play-calling, while the Dukesters have dropped three of the last four games. So the desperation factor is close in this ACC bout. More of it though is on Miami, a 9 1/2-point favorite off a line that opened at 8 and grew with money poured onto the Canes. That may be because The U has dominated Duke all-time, leading the series 13-2 including four wins in a row. Pressure is squarely on QB Malik Rosier, who could be an interception or a scoreless quarter away from being benched for N'Kosi Perry, because Richt seems to be lacking a clear conviction on who his QB should be. Duke, though not as good as Virginia or Boston College, is far from the pushover it once was. An outright upset would surprise but not shock. The Devils are well-coached by David Cutcliffe and have a troublesome offense led by QB Daniel Jones, who some see as a potential future first-round NFL draft pick. I like Canes riding the home field to snap that two-game skid, but until Miami shows it is firing on all pistons again Duke seems like a fair play against the spread getting near-double digits. My pick: Hurricanes, 31-23.

OTHER STATE COLLBALL: There are seven FBS-level college teams in Florida. Here's chronological Week 10 schedule for the rest (all Saturday unless noted otherwise):

No. 12 UCF (8-0) beats Temple (5-4), 52-40: As predicted, Thursday night battle for first place in American conference East went to hometown Knights, but not easily.

Tulane (4-5) beats South Florida (7-2), 41-15: Bulls were stinging from first loss and suffered a second even worse.

North Carolina State (6-2) beats FSU (4-5), 47-28: Noles, crushed by Clemson last week, continued their downward spiral this week.

Missouri (5-4) beats No. 11 Florida (6-3), 38-17: Facing Swamp letdown after mega-loss to Georgia, Gators got flat-out swamped.

FiufauFAU (4-5) beats FIU (6-3), 49-14: The 17th annual Shula Bowl found FIU only a 3-point home favorite as Butch Davis' ButchCats fought to reach Conference USA title game. Owls, who preened last year, had little to play for other than an uphill climb to bowl eligibility and Lane Kiffin's wounded pride. FAU led all-time series 11-5 but FIU had won four of past six before FAU won last year. ButchCats were having better season and we thought should have prevailed at home, but we knew Owls would have talons out and that an upset would not surprise.  

Week 10 national Top 25 matchups (4): No. 6 Georgia beats No. 11 Kentucky, 34-17; 12-West Virginia beats 15-Texas, 42-41; 5-Michigan beats 14-Penn State, 42-7; and (whoa, Nellie!) 1-Alabama beats 4-LSU, 29-0.

BigdisaANYBODY AROUND HERE WANNA WIN, PLEASE!?: You may have noticed. It's pretty obvious. Things are not good. South Florida's Big 5 sports teams -- the four major pro teams plus UM football -- are struggling to varying degrees. Each of their fans have cause for a degree of disenchantment. But what fans are entitled to be the most disappointed at the moment? I offer five choices and give you two (2) votes. Try to vote not as a fan of any one team in particular but as someone stepping back and seeing the big picture. Remember, vote for the top TWO biggest disappointments right now. Go!

VOTE FOR YOUR TOP TWO (2)


PicksUPSET BIRD TIME!: HERE'S DOLPHINS-JETS, OTHER NFL WEEK 9 PICKS: It's the Stinkin' Jets at the Stumblin' Dolphins to see who'll be the least-bad on Sunday at The Rock. Jets Week used to seem big around here. This one sort of just arrives as another game. That's the residue of two franchises that don't matter a lot in the NFL right now. Can you remember when the Dolphins and Jets were both good at the same time? Me neither. So I looked it up. The last three seasons both made the playoffs: 2001, 1998 and 1985. Who'll win Sunday? That pick tops my latest NFL selections. Visit Week  9 Gems. Also included are my Game of the Week (big week for King Sport), Upset of the Week ("Aawwk!") and all the rest. Our 28th season of Friday NFL picks (online Thursdays) is sailing very well, thanks. Entering the week we were 84-35-2 (.706) overall and a very solid 67-50-4 (.573) against the spread. Alas, our Week 9 got off to a crash of a start Thursday night as we foresaw an upset win by the Raiders only to watch as Jon Gruden and his entire team took a giant [bleep] all over the godforsaken turf. We'll rally. Our season totals say so. #Rally

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 27, 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

2018 DSM game-by-game results

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Twitter @gregcote

October 21, 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Twitter @gregcote

October 18, 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

1       2       Kirk Cousins, MIN                  30.65         250.55

2       1       Drew Brees, NO                    BYE            241.90

3       7       Matt Ryan, ATL                     52.70         231.75

4       3       Jared Goff, LAR                    12.05         221.40

5       5       Patrick Mahomes, KC             33.60         218.25

6       9       Ben Roethlisberger, PIT         44.45         215.65

7       4       Philip Rivers, LAC                  20.35         213.10

8       8       Aaron Rodgers, GB                36.25         208.35

9       6       Andrew Luck, IND                 21.05         202.60

10     13     Tom Brady, NE                       38.00         196.95

11     11     Andy Dalton, CIN                   27.45         193.70

12     10     Derek Carr, OAK                    22.10         192.15

13     14     Joe Flacco, BAL                     29.90         188.40

14     12     Eli Manning, NYG                   16.05         180.10

15     15     Deshaun Watson, HOU           15.85         173.90

27     22     Ryan Tannehill, MIA               DNP           112.60

35     39     Brock Osweiler, MIA               39.00          46.75

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

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

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

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

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

Twitter @gregcote