March 26, 2019

We have a winner! March Madness Haiku Challenge results here!: plus big night for Bosh and Heat, my NCAA bracket (ouch), podcast news, your verdict on Heat playoff opponent & more

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

1) It's TUESDAY, MARCH 26. Football is never done, and so it's always the perfect time to buy our 'Fins At 50' book for the Dolfans in your life. Check it out on Amazon. 2) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Hot Button Top 10, Heat playoff-opponent poll, Beckham's Miami soccer odyssey & more. 4) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook and Instagram.

TwssBig podcast news: Pleased to say I'm on Sarah Spain's newest That's What She Said podcast on the Le Batard & Friends Podcast Network. Was surprised and honored that she'd have me. It premiered today. We laughed, we cried! Please find it and listen.

Haiku WinnerMARCH MADNESS HAIKU CHALLENGE ANOINTS A CHAMPION!: Our blog's 14th annual March Madness Haiku Challenge drew a record 248 entries in four days last week, 144 via my Herald email and 104 via my Twitter account at hashtag #Haiku. Thanks to all who played along. (Because nothing celebrates the NCAA Tournament and bracket-mania like a dive into ancient Japanese short-form poetry!) So who made the best use of  17 syllables? Our judging committee, consisting entirely of me, pored over every entry. The results:

CHAMPION: ANDREW S.:

"My bracket's busting

Like Zion's blue Nike shoe

Duke the constant heel" 

I liked the analogy of a disintegrating bracket and and an exploding sneaker, appreciated the topicality of Zion Williamson and his footwear calamity, and enjoyed the allusion to Duke basketball being the program so many love to hate. Congrats, Andrew. I'll email you soon and we'll figure out some sort of grand prize that won't be the least bit grand. 

RUNNERUP: "Rub the Billiken / Dancin' with the Blue Devil / March on to cut nets" [from David R.]. HONORABLE MENTION: "Duke, Carolina / The title game we all need / And what we deserve" [from Paul N.] and "College basketball / Only matters once a year / It is candy corn" [from Estabante T.]

Thanks again to all who played. My appreciation in haiku form: "Yay to Andrew S. / On a ladder with scissors / The gold belt all his"

BracketMY NCAA BRACKET EXISTS TO MAKE YOU FEEL BETTER ABOUT YOUR BRACKET: My men's NCAA Tournament bracket is in the Le Batard & Friends group through ESPN.com. And I am sorry to say that, right now, entering the Sweet 16 round, my bracket is tied for 117th place among 215 entries. I do have 12 teams alive of the 16 left, so that isn't too bad. (Right?) The eight teams I need to win later this week: Duke, Michigan State, Virginia, Tennessee, Gonzaga, Michigan, North Carolina and Kentucky. I gambled on Virginia as my overall champion, so if that somehow happens I think my limping bracket might still have a respectable finish.

BoshSTAKES AND BOSH: BIG HEAT NIGHT X 2: Stakes high tonight in the bayside arena as the currently 8th-seeded Heat host the 9th-seed Orlando Magic. Miami with a win would climb to .500 and earn a bit of breathing room in the chase for the playoffs with nine games left in the NBA regular season. With a loss the Heat would see its margin narrow -- and drop to 9th behind Orlando if the Magic win tonight at home vs. Philadelphia. Why is making the playoffs that important? A couple of more home games for Dwyane Wade in his farewell season, for one thing. Also tonight, the Heat will honor Chris Bosh (pictured) at halftime by retiring his jersey. Bosh last played an NBA game on Feb. 9, 2016, his career cut short by blood clots. He recently officially announced he was retired for good.
 
POLL RESULT: YOU WANT 76ERS FOR HEAT: We asked,"Which of the 3 most likely first-round opponents would you most like to see Miami Heat face to start NBA playoffs?"And you had it 51.16 percent for Philadelphia 76ers, 25.58% for Milwaukee Bucks and 23.26% for Toronto Raptors.
 
Our most recent columns: Beckham's Miami Soccer Odyssey Takes Latest Detour / Will Diaz's Canes Justify 'The New Miami' Hype? Why Tannehill's Legacy Probably Isn't What You Think / Case For Kaepernick's Comeback As A Dolphin / 'Coach Crutch' Has Nova Southeastern Soaring / Dolphins Not Better Now Than When Last Season Ended / Trip to Miami Inspired a National Bobblehead Shrine / Jeter Gets Reminder Why Marlins Boss Is His Toughest Position Yet / The Intrigue Left: Will LeBron Go Out On Top? / Transgender-Athlete Firestorm A Necessary Debate / Across the Rio Grande to the PGA Tour / From Dark and Empty to Top Of the World: Dan Le Batard at 50.

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

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

Twitter @gregcote

March 22, 2019

Entries close noon today in 14th annual March Madness Haiku Challenge! Find rules and how to enter here and do it now!; plus our Canes-football-hype column, Tannehill's legacy and your verdict on his Dolphins era, Radio Friday & more

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

1) It's FRIDAY, MARCH 22. Visit Greg Cote Tuesday for the best-of podcast from this week's Le Batard Show on ESPN Radio. Included: the newest Back In My Day (Coupons!). 2) Football is never done, and so it's always the perfect time to buy our 'Fins At 50' book for the Dolfans in your life. Check it out on Amazon. 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Hot Button Top 10, Dolphins/Kaepernick column, Tannehill-era poll, 'Greg Cote Day' & more. 4) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook and Instagram.

It's Radio Friday!: I'm in-studio again today on the Dan Le Batard Show With Stugotz. It airs 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. nationally on ESPN Radio and ESPNews, after a local-only hour 8:55 a.m. to 10 on Miami's 790 The Ticket. Join us!.

Newest column: Will Diaz's Canes justify 'The New Miami' hype?: Miami Hurricanes football is trafficking in hope again. New coach Manny Diaz has fans uber-excited in the midst of his first spring practice. But there is a sense of deja vu. We have been teased with "The U  Is Back!" before. Is it real this time? Please visit Will Diaz's Canes Justify 'The New Miami' Hype? to read my latest column.

Haiku14TH ANNUAL MARCH MADNESS HAIKU CHALLENGE! ENTER NOW!: We have done the Haiku Challenge for as long as we've had this blog and it is back for tradition's sake and by unpopular demand. Actually we had a record number of entries last year (128), so let's see if we'll raise the bar even higher. I know Dvitalemany of you are intimidated by this contest, or simply do not agree that nothing captures America's mania over the NCAA Tournament and bracketeering like ancient Japanese short-form poetry. I do not do this for the masses, but for the select few creative minds and poets among you. Think of it like a restaurant that offers liver. They know very few like it, but they know the few who do love it. You may know that a haiku is a 17-syllable poem ideally but not necessarily in 5-7-5 structure. Rhyming? Fine, but not necessary. Here's an example of a standard 5-7-5 haiku: "An ocean voyage / As waves break over the bow / the sea welcomes me." Got it ? OK, now apply that to March Madness.

Three simple but firm rules: 

1. Your poem must be 17 total syllables exactly and must in some way be about the NCAA Tournament, March Madness or college basketball.

2. You may submit entries ONLY one of two ways: Via email to gcote@miamiherald.com with Haiku in the subject line, or via Twitter @gregcote with the hashtag #Haiku.

3. Entries were accepted starting Tuesday and will end at noon sharp on Friday, March 22. No hard limit on entries per person, but keep it to a handful max, please.

Grand Champion will be announced by me here in the blog and on Twitter Sunday, March 24. The winner's prize? I dunno. Maybe a Dolphins media guide, a meet-and-greet with Le Batard Show or something equally crappy. But don't do it for the prize. Do it for the sheer glory and empowering feeling of inner enrichment and Zen. Ready? Haiku!

RtannyTANNEHILL'S LEGACY: MALIGNED, NOT AS BAD AS WE THOUGHT: I examine what I think is the Dolphins legacy of departed quarterback Ryan Tannehill in my recent column. Please visit Why Tannehill's Legacy Probably Isn't What You Think to read in full. The column also tips a farewell cap to sack-man Cameron Wake and running back Frank Gore, also both departed. Collectively, Tannehill, Wake and Gore were major players meriting our retrospective.    

Other most recent columns: The Case For Kaepernick's Comeback As A Dolphin / 'Coach Crutch' Has Nova Southeastern Soaring / Dolphins Not Better Now Than When Last Season Ended / Trip to Miami Inspired a National Bobblehead Shrine / Jeter Gets Reminder Why Marlins Boss Is His Toughest Position Yet / The Intrigue Left: Will LeBron Go Out On Top? / Transgender-Athlete Firestorm A Necessary Debate / Across the Rio Grande to the PGA Tour.

POLL RESULT: TANNEHILL ERA GETS AVERAGE GRADE: We asked, "How would you grade Ryan Tannehill's career with the Miami Dolphins?" We eliminated A's and F's to prevent the craziest and unfairest votes. Instead we offered the nine choices of B-plus/B/B-minus, C-plus/C/C-minus, and D-plus/D/D-minus. Combining the results into one letter grade, "C" dominated with 58.29 percent of the total. Then it was close between "B" (21.39%) and "D" (20.32). Bottom line answer: A majority of you graded Tannehill's Fins career average, with a near-even split on those who found it above or below average.

Select other recent columns: A Case For Tannehill, Gore And Wake All Returning / Riley Scoffs At Retirement Because His Work Isn't Done / Wade's 'Last Dance' A Masterwork In How To Say Goodbye / Six Reasons To Be Hopeful About Marlins' Rebuild / Stain On NFL Stays Until Kaepernick Is Signed / He Was Wrong To Stiff Caddie, But Vilifying Kuchar is Wrong, Too / Why Murray Is Perfect Fit For Dolphins / From Dark and Empty to the Top Of the World: Dan Le Batard at 50.

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

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

Twitter @gregcote

March 15, 2019

The legend of 'Coach Crutch.' Latest column; plus Bridgewater continues Dolphins free-agency losses, newest 'Back In My Day' video, Miami's unique imprint on national bobblehead shrine, farewell Cam Wake/Frank Gore & more

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

1) It's FRIDAY, MARCH 15. As ridiculous as it sounds, and it does (!), the Fort Myers Miracle minor-league baseball team is having a 'Greg Cote Day' at its ballpark on Saturday, July 27. Go here for ticket information. 2) Football is never done, and so it's always the perfect time to buy our 'Fins At 50' book for the Dolfans in your life. Check it out on Amazon. 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Hot Button Top 10, on Dolphins' Tannehill/Gore/Wake, Blake Shelton concert review & more. 4) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook and Instagram.

JimcBOUTIQUE COLUMN!: GREATEST COACH YOU'VE NEVER HEARD OF HAS NOVA SOUTHEASTERN HOOPS SOARING: NSU's men's  basketball team is 26-3, ranked No. 3 in NCAA Division II and hosting this weekend's eight-team Southern Regional in their Davie campus arena. They play Saturday at 5. In my latest column I write of coach Jim Crutchfield (pictured), who arrived last season and has dramatically turned around a once moribund program with few fans. Crutchfield has the best career winning percentage of any body who has coached at least 10 seasons in the NCAA. Any division. Ever. This is a coach and a team easy to root for. To read my latest column, please visit 'Coach Crutch' Has Nova Southeastern Soaring.

TbridgeDOLPHINS FREE-AGENCY: MIAMI KEEPS LOSING MORE THAN GAINING: The ledger could have balanced somewhat if Miami had landed quarterback Teddy Bridgewater (pictured), but, instead, T-Bridge -- a Miami native opts to stay in New Orleans as a backup in yet another free agency defeat for the Fins. The Dolphins have had a rough start to NFL free agency -- especially juxtaposed to the noisy splashes being made by the Browns, Jets and elsewhere around the league. We detail the reasons why in our recent column. Please visit Dolphins Not Better Now Than When Last Season Ended to read.

BobbleheadA TOUR OF THE NATION'S NEW BOBBLEHEAD SHRINE ... AND ITS MIAMI INFLUENCE: The National Bobblehead Hall of Fame and Museum just opened last Month in Milwaukee, founded by a couple of lifelong buddies who quit better-paying adult jobs to pursue their wacky dream. Now they run an empire of some 10,000 Mebobbleunique bobbleheads -- about 6,500 of them on display. I have always loved bobbleheads. Never out of style. Always kitschy. Always ridiculous and great. Custom bobbleheads are becoming big, and a couple of Christmases ago my wife sent out a photo of me somewhere and out of China magically arrived a Greg Cote bobblehead (pictured left). Must have been an old photo. I look young and thin. It looks nothing at all like me. I love it! Anyway, the national bobblehead shrine I write of in my recent column has a bunch of Miami stuff in it, and in fact drew some of its inspiration from the bobblehead display at Marlins Park. Their best-selling bobblehead (by far) has been Sister Jean, the 99-year-old Loyola basketball nun. But the co-founder also tells us the Hurricanes/Turnover Chain bobblehead was huge the season before last. Fun story, different column. To read it, please visit Trip to Miami Inspired a National Bobblehead Shrine.

Other most recent columns: A Case For Tannehill, Gore And Wake All Returning. Also: Jeter Gets Reminder Why Marlins Boss Is His Toughest Position Yet, The Intrigue Left: Will LeBron Go Out On Top?Transgender-Athlete Firestorm A Necessary Debate and Across the Rio Grande to the PGA Tour.

Fgore CamwakeFAREWELL, FRANK GORE AND CAM WAKE: Headed to Buffalo in free agency, running back Frank Gore, the Old Cane, gave the Dolphins one very good year, and dirt cheap, too. On merit, by all of the usual measurements -- contribution, skill, cost -- he deserved to be re-signed by Miami. Same for defensive end Cameron Wake, gone to Tennessee after giving Miami a great career that will see him on team's Honor Roll. Unfortunately, both men were caught in the wide new net being cast as the Fins weed out their older players in a broad, ground-up reboot. It is not quite as stark or all-inclusive as what the Marlins are doing, but pretty close. In the long term it may work (if a top quarterback is a part of it). But in the short term it hurts. The Dolphins are not better today for the absence of Frank Gore and Cam Wake. They are diminished.

LATEST 'BACK IN MY DAY': THEME CRUISES!: Cruisin' ain't what it used to be, unfortunately. Here's the new BIMD that premiered on Tuesday's Le Batard Show on ESPN Radio and ESPNews:

Select other recent columns: Riley Scoffs At Retirement Because His Work Isn't Done / Wade's 'Last Dance' A Masterwork In How To Say Goodbye / Six Reasons To Be Hopeful About Marlins' Rebuild / Stain On NFL Stays Until Kaepernick Is Signed / He Was Wrong To Stiff Caddie, But Vilifying Kuchar is Wrong, Too / Why Murray Is Perfect Fit For Dolphins / From Dark and Empty to the Top Of the World: Dan Le Batard at 50.

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

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

Twitter @gregcote

February 25, 2019

Why Heat's Pat Riley is defiantly scoffing at retirement. On the premiere of new ESPN/Le Batard TV series with Riles in debut episode; plus Radio Monday (!), latest Hot Button Top 10 (updated) & more

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

1) It's MONDAY, FEBRUARY 25. Football is done, but never too late to buy our 'Fins At 50' book for the Dolfans in your life. Check it out on Amazon. 2) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Wade's farewell a masterwork in how to retire right, 6 reason for Marlins optimism, Miami's rank among best sports cities, new Back In My Day video, Brandi Carlile's 'The Joke' & more. 3) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook and Instagram.

It's Radio Monday (!): I'm co-hosting on the Dan Le Batard Show With Stugotz today/Monday instead of my regular Tuesday gig because of a Herald work-related conflict. It airs 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. nationally on ESPN Radio and ESPNews, after a local-only hour 8:55 to 10 on Miami's 790 The Ticket. Join us!  

PrileyOn Le Batard TV premiere with Riley: ESPN's Dan Le Batard has a new ESPN TV series called Art Of Conversation that premiering last evening with Heat president Pat Riley. I thought it was really good. In case you missed it, or even you didn't, here is our review. Please visit Riley Scoffs At Retirement Because His Work Isn't Done.

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

Hotbutton1. HEAT: Miami stumbling out of All-Star break: Post All-Star break, first the Heat lose to a 76ers team minus Joel Embiid, then get clobbered 119-96 by a Pistons they're chasing for the final East playoff spot. Slumping Miami now is 26-32 and 10th in the jockeying for eight playoff tickets. Why? Largely because the 11-17 home record is the worst by far of any playoff contender. After hosting Phoenix on Monday, Miami plays Golden State here Wednesday. Oy.

2. MARLINS: Spring games underway for retooling Fish: Miami opened its 30-game spring schedule on Saturday vs. the Cardinals in Jupiter. They got clobbered, giving up 20 hits in an 11-1 loss, and are now 0-2 in fake games. (Keep repeating: "Spring results don't matter..."). Highlight of spring opener: Starter Sandy Alcantara looked pretty good in two innings' work. Lowlight: Everything else. 

3. MLB: Padres hit Machado jackpot: San Diego won the bidding for prized Hialeah-born free-agent slugger Manny Machado with a 10-year, $300 million bid. Padres have never won a championship in their 50 seasons and last made the playoffs 13 years ago. No pressure or anything, Manny! 

4. UM BASKETBALL: Canes women end jinx, beat FSU: The 23-6 UM women rose to No. 14 in polls before an upset loss at Virginia Tech, but bounced back at home to beat nemesis Florida State 64-54 Sunday -- ending  a nine-game regular season losing streak in the series. As regular seasons wanes, Katie Meier's troops are playing for NCAA Tournament seeding. Meanwhile Jim Larranaga's 11-14 Miami men's team likely needs a big finish and a prayer just to sneak into the NIT.

5. ZION WILLIAMSON: Unraveling Nike sneaker fells game's top player: panthers ] College Player of the Year-designate Zion Williamson of No. 1 Duke crumples and injures a knee when his Nike sneaker falls apart during a game like a frayed retread on the Interstate. Barack Obama, at the game, was seen on TV saying, "His shoe broke!" Accurate. Meanwhile Nike stock takes a billion-dollar hit before rallying.

6. GOLF: Tiger says he won't play the Honda: Tiger Woods said he'll skip this week's Honda Classic in Palm Beach Gardens, South Florida's only PGA Tour event since the tour left Doral. Modest field features only three of top 20-ranked players in No. 2 Brooks Koepka, No. 4 Justin Thomas and No. 9 Rickie Fowler. With fan favorites like Dustin Johnson, Rory McIlroy, Phil Mickelson and Jordan Spieth also all skipping Honda, event could have really used Tiger.   

7. ROBERT KRAFT: Patriots owner nabbed in prostitution sting: You just can't make this stuff up, folks. If you did, nobody would believe you. So the 77-year-old owner of the New England Patriots is caught in a police sting for eliciting sex at a Jupiter massage parlor. Pats won the Super Bowl but evidently (you see this coming, right?) Kraft had another happy ending in mind. 

8. PANTHERS: Cats clobber Kings, but time running out: As Monday's NHL trade deadline looms, Florida routed the visiting L.A. King 6-1 Saturday night but still are only 27-33 and a big 10 points back in the playoff chase. Cats finished a seven-game homestand 4-3 and now hit the road starting Monday in Colorado.

9. CANES BASEBALL: UM loses series at rival Florida: The Gino DiMare era busted out to a 5-0 start before the unranked Canes lost the final two games of a three-game weekend set vs. No. 3-ranked Gators in Gainesville. 

10. DOLPHINS: Fins bolster front office with McKenzie: Dolphins hired Reggie McKenzie as "senior personnel 0executive," which basically sounds like he'll be a right-hand man for general manager Chris Grier. McKenzie spent past seven years as GM for the Oakland Raiders, but we won't hold that against him.

Missing the HB10 cut: Dan Le Batard's new ESPN series, Art Of Conversation, premieres Sunday at 5:30 with a profile of Heat prez Pat Riley. Shameless Plug Alert: I have details about the show and its first episode here ..... Ichiro singled in his first spring at-bat for Seattle. Also notable: He's bleepin' 45! ..... Famed Syracuse men's basketball coach Jim Boeheim said he would coach Saturday night's game just two days after an accident in which his car struck and killed a man. Boeheim has fully cooperated and may not be charged with anything. Still, maybe take the next game off while the other family plans the funeral? Just a thought ..... The new Alliance of American Football, entering its third week, already has needed a bailout to meet payroll. Buzzards are circling ..... Former straight-laced NBA coach Don Nelson, in retirement, has grown a hippie beard and become a devotee of marijuana. Somewhere, Bill Walton is smiling ..... ..... A Kenosha, Wisconsin high school gave cheerleader awards called Big Booty and Big Boobie until the school board stepped in. Give the Big Idiot award to the coach who let it happen ..... Breakdancing has been proposed for the 2024 Olympics. Oh Lord how I wish I were kidding ..... Update: Countdown now 2,674 days (give or take) until Miami hosts its first match in the 2026 World Cup.

ZionwA BUSTED SHOE, A HURT KNEE AND WHAT'S NEXT FOR ZION WILLIAMSON: The most-talked about and coveted young basketball phenom since LeBron James suddenly falls with an injured knee on Duke’s court because his Nike sneaker fell apart. It’s national TV. The camera shows former President Barack Obama, seated courtside, saying, "His shoe broke!" That’s notable enough. But what happens next might be bigger: Will Zion Williamson play another game for Duke? Should he? Why should he? That's the gist of my column. To read it, please visit: Zion Should Say See-Ya Duke and Shut It Down.

Other most recent columns: Wade's 'Last Dance' A Masterwork In How To Say Goodbye  /  Six Reasons To Be Hopeful About Marlins' Rebuild  /  Stain On NFL Stays Until Kaepernick Is Signed /  He Was Wrong To Stiff Caddie, But Vilifying Kuchar is Wrong, Too /  Why Murray Is Perfect Fit For Dolphins.

Select recent other columns: Taking On NFL Cost Costas His Job, But Not His Integrity / The State Of South Florida Sports in 2019 / The Redemption Of Manny Diaz / Here's Why Dolphins Hit Big With Flores Gamble / Bonds and Clemens Inch Toward Cooperstown, But A-Rod Faces Tougher Road / Kooch Never Made Canton But Helped Make Dolphins History / From Dark and Empty to the Top Of the World: Dan Le Batard at 50 / Getting Diaz Back The Perfect Fit For UM / Miami's Hate-Hate Relationship With Nick Saban.

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

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

Twitter @gregcote

February 21, 2019

Dwyane Wade's farewell season a masterwork in how to say goodbye. New column; plus 6 reasons for optimism as Marlins open spring training, latest 'Back In My Day' video (Men's Socks!), Miami's rank among best sports cities, Brandi Carlile & more

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

1) It's WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 20. Visit Greg Cote Tuesday for the best-of podcast from yesterday's Le Batard Show on ESPN Radio/ESPNews. Find below the video for the latest Back In My Day segment. 2) Anybody else think Presidents' Day is a lame holiday to have off? Or maybe I'm just bitter I had to work. 3) Football is done, but never too late to buy our 'Fins At 50' book for the Dolfans in your life. Check it out on Amazon. 4) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Hot Button Top 10, Kaepernick case settles, your Dolphins QB verdict & more. 5) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook and Instagram.

DwadeNO MATTER HOW SEASON ENDS FOR HEAT, WADE GOES OUT A WINNER: Heat are in Philly tonight to begin the season's second half, with Miami precariously right on the outer edge of playoff contention. Close call whether they make the postseason, but either way, Dwayne Wade, in his 'Last Dance' farewell season, is giving a lesson on how to retire, and when. To read my latest column, please visit Wade's 'Last Dance' A Masterwork In How To Say Goodbye. Wade, feeling the love from coast to coast, is doing it his way, going out on his terms and his timetable. Says No. 3: "For me, to be able to come back to Miami and make the decision this year that I was going to walk away from the game on my own -- under my own will -- it’s a good thing."

JeterAS SPRING IS SPRUNG, AN OPTIMISTIC TAKE (BELIEVE IT OR NOT) ON THE REBUILDING MARLINS : I ventured north to Jupiter on Monday for the first full-day of Marlins spring training and birthed my latest column. To read it, and I hope you will, please visit Six Reasons To Be Hopeful About Marlins' Rebuild. My six reasons are entitled Pitching, pitching, pitching; A burgeoning farm system; Potential future stars to watch; The broadening scope of the talent search; Stuff behind the scenes you don’t see; and A ‘Yankees South’ feel to the makeover. In the column I detail each and explain why these are all positives. I have been tough on the "Fire-Sale Fish" over the years, and was when the new Derek Jeter regime abruptly traded stars Giancarlo Stanton, Marcell Ozuna and Christian Yelich. But the return is becoming ecvident. There will be lots of losing in the short-term. But I think by around the 2021 season, the club's plea for fans' patience may be showing dividends. Pictured on Monday: Jeter chatting with new special adviser Jorge Posada.

Other most recent columns: Stain On NFL Stays Until Kaepernick Is Signed /  He Was Wrong To Stiff Caddie, But Vilifying Kuchar is Wrong, TooWhy Murray Is Perfect Fit For Dolphins.

MIAMI, START THAT EBULLIENT "WE'RE NO. 7!" CHANT!: The website 24/7 Wall St. (247wallst.com) lists the Top 20 "Best Cities for Sports Fans" in the U.S. (full ranking here) and Miami comes in a respectable No. 7, trailing only, in order, Los Angeles, Boston, New York City, Chicago, San Antonio and Denver. The methodology is vague but is said to include all American cities/metro areas with at Sevenleast one professional team in the NFL, NBA, NHL or MLB, with additional points given for number of teams, number of championships in past decade and consistency of winning, along with team payrolls, presence of major stars and "other measures related to overall experience of being a sports fan." The synopsis on Miami, condensed by me: "While Dolphins had their share of success in 1970s, Heat has been the winningest team recently, with NBA titles in 2006, 2012, and 2013. They are probably most remembered for adding LeBron James and Chris Bosh prior to the 2010-11 season. After six straight trips to the postseason, the Heat qualified in just one of the last three seasons. The Dolphins are most remembered for their perfect season in 1972. The Miami Marlins, who have made it to the postseason in just two of the 25 years of their existence, won the World Series both times — in 1997 and 2003. The Panthers won a conference championship in 1995-96 but have never hoisted the Stanley Cup. They qualified for postseason just twice (2012, 2016) in last 16 years. In Miami, it’s not the humidity, it’s the Heat." My comment: Should we really be lending credence to any gauge that calls L.A. the best city for sports fans?

NEW 'BACK IN MY DAY': MEN'S SOCKS!: Whatever happened to white socks for sneakers and black socks for dress shoes as the simple rule of footdom?

BRANDI CARLILE'S 'THE JOKE': Blog readers know what a huge music fan I am, and I'd heard of but not really knew of Brandi Carlile before seeing her performance of her song, "The Joke," at the recent Grammy Awards. I was blown away. By the song. By the performance. By the message.I hope it means something or moves you in some way as it did me:

Other select recent columns: Taking On NFL Cost Costas His Job, But Not His Integrity / The State Of South Florida Sports in 2019 / The Redemption Of Manny Diaz / Here's Why Dolphins Hit Big With Flores Gamble / Bonds and Clemens Inch Toward Cooperstown, But A-Rod Faces Tougher Road / Kooch Never Made Canton But Helped Make Dolphins History / From Dark and Empty to the Top Of the World: Dan Le Batard at 50 / Wade Deserves All-Star Sendoff / The Dolphins Seem Desperate, And It's About Time / Getting Diaz Back The Perfect Fit For UM / Miami's Hate-Hate Relationship With Nick Saban.

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

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

Twitter @gregcote

February 13, 2019

Bob Costas walks away with his integrity intact. Latest column; plus radio record-low, R.I.P. Gordon Banks, your Miami's-next-championship-team verdict & more

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

Gbanks1) It's WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 13. Visit Greg Cote Tuesday for best-of podcast from yesterday's Le Batard Show on ESPN Radio and ESPNews. It's really bad, thanks to my record-low performance. You're welcome! 2) R.I.P., Gordon Banks (pictured), former English World Cup soccer star and Fort Lauderdale Strikers goalkeeper in the late '70s, gone at 81. My column from last June. 3) Football is done, but never too late to buy our 'Fins At 50' book for the Dolfans in your life. Check it out on Amazon. 4) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): State of Miami pro sports with next-champion poll, Hot Button Top 10 & more. 5) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook and Instagram.

"It's February 13th, fellas. Only one day left to dream up a creatively plausible excuse why you forgot Valentine's Day." --Greg Cote

BcostasBOB COSTAS WALKS AWAY FROM NBC WITH INTEGRITY INTACT: Bob Costas revealed details this past weekend of what led to his departure from NBC Sports after 40 years. Basically, it was that NBC thought he'd crossed a line with on-air commentary about the NFL's concussion and brain-injury problem. Costas would not agree to be quiet, so the two sides mutually ended their long marriage. Go here for the in-depth ESPN piece that broke the story. For my own newest column, visit Taking On NFL Cost Costas His Job, But Not His Integrity. I wrote admiringly about Costas, his career and moral compass. I also see his story as a microcosm reflecting much of America's evolving opinion about football. We acknowledge the downside, the threat to players' health ... but we can't stop watching. Costas could only keep broadcasting NFL games if he kept his mouth shut. He wouldn't. Good for him.

Other most recent columns: The State Of South Florida Sports in 2019 / The Redemption Of Manny Diaz / Here's Why Dolphins Hit Big With Flores Gamble.

IntmiaPOLL RESULT: SURPRISE! INTER MIAMI SOCCER SEEN AS MIAMI'S NEXT CHAMP: A team that won't even play its first game until next year will be Miami's next major pro champion, said you in our most recent blogpoll. We may say less about confidence in David Beckham's Inter Miami as it does as lack of confidence in the immediate futures of the Dolphins, Heat, Marlins and Panthers. We asked, "Which of South Florida's 5 major pro teams do you think will win a championship next?" You results: Inter Miami/MLS Cup 50.42 percent; Panthers/Stanley Cup 16.81%; Heat/NBA Finals 13.45%; Marlins/World Series 10.08%; and Dolphins/Super Bowl 9.24%. So the team that doesn't yet exist won easily, followed by the team that has never won a championship. Lean times for the Heat, Fish and Fins.

More select recent columns: Bonds and Clemens Inch Toward Cooperstown, But A-Rod Faces Tougher Road / We All Got Cheated, Not Just Saints / This Is Offseason for Dolphins to Be Bold, Not Think Tanking / Kooch Never Made Canton But Helped Make Dolphins History / From Dark and Empty to the Top Of the World: Dan Le Batard at 50 / Wade Deserves All-Star Sendoff / The Dolphins Seem Desperate, And It's About Time / Getting Diaz Back The Perfect Fit For UM / Richt Can Call It Retirement, But He Just Quit On The Canes / Miami's Hate-Hate Relationship With Nick Saban.

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

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

Twitter @gregcote

January 08, 2019

What was Miami's biggest sport story of 2018? Our 20 finalists. You pick top 6. Annual poll. Last day to vote!; plus my LeBatard and Canes columns, Radio Tuesday, Hot Button Top 10, how we did on NFL playoff picks, your top-national-story winner & more

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

1) It's TUESDAY, JANUARY 8. Yes I might still say "Happy New Year" and I don't care who objects with their silly rules. 2) Football is at its crescendo and the holidays are upon us. That means it's the perfect time to delight Dolfans you know with the (late) gift of our 'Fins At 50' book. Check it out on Amazon. 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): NFL Wild-Card Weekend picks, biggest-national-sports-story-of-2018 poll, make-Wade-an-all-star column & more. 4) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook and Instagram.

It's Radio Tuesday!: I'm back in-studio today on the Dan LeBatard Show With Stugotz, my first time back with Dan and Stu since before the holidays. Show airs 8:55 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Miami's 790 The Ticket and nationally on ESPN Radio affiliates and on ESPNews from 10 to 1. Join us! 

The Le Batard, Canes' Chaos to Calm columns: Visit From Dark and Empty to the Top Of the World: Dan Le Batard at 50 for a special, unusually personal column by me. And, in my latest column, UM director of athletics Blake James takes us behind the scenes on the day when Canes football when from a bombshell of upheaval to the calm of continuity within hours. Visit Hurricanes' Wild Ride From Chaos to Calm.

Other most recent columns: Wade Deserves All-Star Sendoff. Also: The Dolphins Seem Desperate, And It's About Time / Getting Diaz Back The Perfect Fit For UM / Richt Can Call It Retirement, But He Just Quit On The Canes / Miami's Hate-Hate Relationship With Nick Saban.

PicksNFL playoff picks: Wild-Card Weekend results: I finished 2-2 straight-up and 2-2 against the spread in the Saturday/Sunday TV doubleheaders that got the postseason underway. Straivght-up, I called the Chargers upset win and also had Cowboys winning. ATS, got the Chargers and Eagles covering at Chicago. Got a bit unlucky. Was sailing with Dallas to cover until that late Seattle score and 2-point conversion. And had Bears straight-up if not for that double-boink final makeable field goal miss. Thanks, Cody Parkey. Visit NFL Wild-Card Weekend Gems for all of our opening round selections.

Miami18WHAT WAS MIAMI/SOUTH FLORIDA'S BIGGEST SPORTS STORY OF 2018? VOTING CONTINUES!: [Note: Voting continues through today and results will be announced here Wednesday morning]. This is our third year doing this. In 2016 you voted the tragic death of Jose Fernandez the biggest local story of the year, and for 2017 it was the Hurricanes' Turnover Chain-fueled surge to UM's first 10-win season in 14 years. The vote to name the biggest local story of 2018 could be tougher, and closer. We'll see. And you'll decide. Previously we invited you to name the past year's top national sports story and you did (results below). Now we invite you to select the 2018 Miami/South Florida sports story of the year, from a roughly alphabetical top 20 of my choosing. You may vote for your top six (6). I offer no synopsis beyond the description phrase in the poll, because if it needs further explaining, it obviously wasn't that big/impactful/important to you. Voting will continue until results are announced here mid-afternoon Tuesday. OK. Ready? Vote!

VOTE FOR YOUR TOP SIX (6)

EaglesYOUR BIGGEST NATIONAL SPORTS STORY VERDICT: We gave you The Associated Press year-end list of Top 10 national sports stories for 2018 and invited you to select your top three. That means the highest possible percentage for any one answer would be 33.3 percent if all voters cast all three votes. Triple each vote total below for the approximate percent of times that answer was included in a top three. Your results: 1. Eagles win first Super Bowl 22.43%; 2. Larry Nasser/gymnastics sexual abuse scandal 20.15%; 3. Supreme Court allows sports betting beyond Las Vegas 15.59%; 4. Tiger Woods comeback from back surgery 9.89%; and 5. Maryland-Baltimore County first 16-seed to beat a No.1 in NCAAs 9.13%. (Nasser/gymnastics scandal won The AP vote). Others: Red Sox win World Series 6.84%; Sister Jean, 98, inspires Loyola-Chicago to NCAA Final Four 4.94%; expansion Golden Knights reach Stanley Cup Finals 4.18%; Alabama wins fifth national title under Nick Saban 4.18%; and Russia doping scandal continues into Pyeongchang Olympics 2.66%.

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

Hotbutton1. DOLPHINS: Fins in search for Gase's replacement as coach: Adam Gase is out. Chris Grier gets the personnel power Mike Tannenbaum had. The search is on for a new head coach. And none if it matters as much as this: Finding a quarterback better than Ryan Tannehill.

2. HURRICANES: Diaz continues assembling new staff: New head coach Manny Diaz digs in to try and find a new offensive coordinator to breathe life into the underperforming half of the team. Major Applewhite, perhaps? No matter who the new OC is, will N'Kosi Perry be his guy?

3. NFL: Colts, Cowboys, Chargers, Eagles advance as playoffs begin: Indianapolis won impressively in Houston, handled Seattle, the Chargers upset Baltimore and Philly upset Chicago to open the playoffs -- the latter only because Cody Parkey blew a 43-yard FG try in last seconds.

4. COLLEGE FOOTBALL: Clemson routs Alabama for CFP title: Crimson Tide and Tigers met Monday night in Santa Clara, Calif., with both teams 14-0 and 'Bama a 5 1/2-point favorite, but it was Clemson winning in a rout, 44-16. We've seldom seen Nick Saban look so sad. Ain't it great!?

5. HEAT: All-star push for Wade is on: As Heat have won eight of past 11 and are at .500 in East race, the push is on to send Dwyane Wade off as an all-star in his final season. He's running second in fan voting. Now we'll see if the player and media vote gets it right, too.

6. UM BASKETBALL: ACC schedule begins for Canes men, women: Now it gets real. Struggling UM men dropped their ACC opener, fell at Louisville last night and now play at No. 9 Florida State Wednesday. Canes women are 14-3 after two wins to open ACC play but somehow slipped from Top 25.

7. JAMES HARDEN: Rockets star's pointfest continues: Harden has now scored 30 or more points in 13 straight games, and NBA record. There are points hidden in Harden's beard.

8. PANTHERS: Hints of hope for Cats, but is it too late?: Cats at midseason are 17-23 and a big nine points off playoff pace as they head out on five-game road trip. Even a big second half might not be enough -- not a good position to have placed yourself.

9. NBA: Warriors, King set 3's mark: Golden State and Sacramento combined for 41 3's, an NBA record. The game's evolution is such, when you pull up for a 2-point jump shot now, they look at you funny.

10. BASEBALL: Biggest deals still on hold: A destination of top free agents Manny Machado and Bryce Harper. A trade of Marlins catcher J.T. Realmuto. Women carry babies in their wombs less time than it's taken these deals to happen.

Missing the HB10 cut: Update: Countdown now 2,724 days (give or take) until Miami hosts its first match in the 2026 World Cup.

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

Twitter @gregcote

December 20, 2018

Revealed and explained: My 2019 Baseball Hall of Fame ballot; plus latest Herald NFL QB rankings, Pix 'n Fantasy results (still en fuego with our picks!), Radio Tuesday, two Beatles and a Stone (video) & more

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

1) It's THURSDAY, DECEMBER 20. Go here for the sharp fall in the latest Dolfan Satisfaction Meter postgame results. 2) Football is nearing its crescendo 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): Dolphins get crushed in Minnesota with DSM poll, Hot Button Top 10 & more. 4) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook and Instagram.

Recent stuff from me: Diaz Leaving Is Biggest Canes Loss Of Richt Era, on abrupt departure of defensive coordinator Manny Diaz to be Temple's head coach. And How Miami-Based ESPN Star Dan LeBatard Is Growing His Empire Again.

BallotREVEALED! MY 2019 BASEBALL HALL OF FAME BALLOT: I am a proud BBWAA member and Baseball Hall of Fame voter, despite the Le Batard Show's efforts to make fun. This is (I think) my fourth year as a voter, and I take it seriously. Men's legacies are at stake. Players Bbhoftake Cooperstown seriously, and so do it. My latest ballot is pictured. Hopefully it is readable. If not, licking on it will enlarge the image. I voted for nine players (the maximum allowed is 10). Last year four of the players I voted for got inducted. This year my nine votes go to five returning-eligible players I also voted for last year (Barry, Bonds, Roger Clemens, Edgar Martinez, Manny Ramirez and Gary Sheffield); two first-time-eligible guys (Roy Halladay and Mariano Rivera); and two players on the ballot before who got my vote this time (Fred McGriff and Mike Mussina). There were near-misses; Todd Helton was one. For the record, Rivera, the great Yankees reliever, is the only player I'd consider a mortal lock for Cooperstown when results are announced on Jan. 22. A few others could be close in either direction. We'd discussed on the LeBatard Show my support for Juan Pierre, who I think had a very good and underrated career. Upon further research, though, I could not in good conscience vote for a player who didn't make a single all-star team. Sorry, Juan!

WATSON TAKES WEEK, MAHOMES PROTECTS LEAD / MIAMI HERALD NFL QB RANKINGS / WEEK 15: The Texans' Deshaun Watson (pictured) Watsontakes Week 15 honors with a 41.70-point game (season's lowest winning week) while Chief Patrick Mahomes maintains his overall No. 1 spot in the Miami Herald's NFL quarterback rankings. Dolphin Ryan Tannehill suffered an awful enjoyed 3.40-point game but hangs in 29th place. Our rankings are cumulative, but with bye weeks finished the playing field has leveled for the stretch run. 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 16:

MIAMI HERALD PASS RANKINGS / WEEK 15
RK    LW    Player, Team                       WK15        Season

1       1       Patrick Mahomes, KC           32.15         560.15

2       2       Drew Brees, NO                   23.15         545.30

3       3       Matt Ryan, ATL                    30.55         526.30

4       4       Ben Roethlisberger, PIT        26.75         506.10

5       5       Kirk Cousins, MIN                 25.75         504.15

6       7       Philip Rivers, LAC                34.65         494.55

7       6       Andrew Luck, IND                19.60        493.55

8       8       Jared Goff, LAR                   26.95        458.65

9       9       Tom Brady, NE                     27.95        451.95

10     14     Deshaun Watson, HOU          41.70        426.60

11     10     Aaron Rodgers, GB               18.70         416.20

12     12     Derek Carr, OAK                   20.15        414.85

13     11     Cam Newton, CAR                 6.55         401.75

14     13     Eli Manning, NYG                  6.45          395.95

15     15     Dak Prescott, DAL                16.30         394.80

16     18     Russell Wilson, SEA              32.85         389.25

17     17     Matthew Stafford, DET        28.40         385.75

18     16     Carson Wentz, PHI               DNP           377.70

19     21     Mitch Trubisky, CHI             34.75          331.70

20     19     Case Keenum, DEN             20.85          329.80

21     20     Baker Mayfield, CLE           22.40          326.25

22     23     Marcus Mariota, TEN          13.40          282.90

23     22     Andy Dalton, CIN                DNP           270.30

24     24     Joe Flacco, BAL                  DNP           246.25

25     25     Alex Smith, WAS                 DNP           236.00

29     29     Ryan Tannehill, MIA            3.40           203.30

33     33     Brock Osweiler, MIA            DNP           126.35

Bubble: Blake Bortles, JAC, 229.65. Week 15 best: Watson, HOU, 41.70 (22-28, 294, 2-0 in win). Week 15 worst: Cody Kessler, JAC, 0.85 (9-17, 57, 0-1 in loss).

Picks LobosNFL WEEK 15 PIX 'N FANTASY RESULTS: GREAT ... AND 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 picks: Great. Again. My magical year continues. We went 11-5 overall this past week and also 11-5 against the spread. We nailed yet another Upset of the Week with Steelers beating Patriots ("Aawwk!"), had a second outright upset with Titans winning at Giants, and bull's-eyed a trio of 'dogs-with-points in Redskins, Eagles and Panthers last night. All in all, maybe our best season ever hits its homestretch! Greg's Lobos: Bad. The Lobos fell to 1-1 in the consolation-bracket playoffs after a 5-8 regular season. Lorenzo Rodriguez had our number, 78 to 66.1, with Deshaun Watson (22.4) the only Lobo who showed up. Nevertheless: #WeAreTheLobos!

HALF THE BEATLES AND A STONE: In his concert last week  in London, Paul McCartney was joined onstage by Ringo Starr and Ron Wood for "Get Back." Old folks like me who actually remember who the hell Ed Sullivan was might enjoy it.

Select other recent columns: Miracle Ending in Miracle Season for Dolphins / The Magic Saved Gase, And Made Fins the Toast of Town / 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 / NASCAR Needs A Next Big Thing / No More Excuses, Florida Panthers / Dolphins? Heat? Nope. UM Football Owns This Town / To The Good-Guy Grinder In The Shades / Time to Flip the Old Narrative On Miami As a Sports Town / Can 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 12, 2018

Canes' Manny Diaz bolts for Temple. With my column, new poll. Vote now!; plus virgin winner & new season leader in Herald NFL QB rankings; also, Pix 'n Fantasy results, my Dolphins how-miracle-saved-Gase column, new 'Back In My Day' & more

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

1) It's WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 12. Visit Greg Cote Tuesday for the best-of podcast from yesterday's Le Batard Show on ESPN Radio. Includes the latest Back In My Day (Impact Windows!) late in the pod, at around the 58-minute mark. 2) Latest Dolfan Satisfaction Meter results are in, and they're best they've been since Week 3. See them here. 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' miracle stuns Patriots with DSM poll, Hot Button Top 10, your Heisman verdict & more. 5) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook and Instagram.

NFL Thursday night: Chargers-Chiefs pick:Two great teams, two great quarterbacks, 21-5 combined record and one clear winner. Visit Thursday Gem to see who, and why.

GaseMiraculous Dolphins! My two columns: 1) Visit Miracle Ending in Miracle Season for Dolphins for my column from the stadium on Sunday's epic 34-33 win over New England. 2) Visit The Magic Saved Gase, And Made Fins the Toast of Town for today's latest column, on how the miracle finish saved Adam Gase from being severely second-guessed, and positioned Dolphins as the great hope of South Florida sports this holiday season.

MannydMANNY DIAZ BOLTING MIAMI FOR TEMPLE. NEW COLUMN, NEW POLL: My new column -- Diaz Leaving Is Biggest Canes Loss Of Richt Era -- says what I have to say. Losing their excellent defensive coordinator (pictured) is a huge blow for The U, and terribly timed as well. Read why in my column. Your opinion goes here:

DakpPRESCOTT TAKES WEEK, MAHOMES TAKES LEAD / MIAMI HERALD NFL QB RANKINGS / WEEK 14: The Cowboys' Dak Prescott (pictured) takes Week 14 honors with a big 60.75-point game -- third-highest of the season -- while Chief Patrick Mahomes leapfrogs Saint Drew Brees into the overall season lead in the Miami Herald's NFL quarterback rankings. It is only Mahomes' second week on top, following a brief stay in Week 9. Dolphins Ryan Tannehill enjoyed a big 36.25-point game (seventh-best of the week) but stays stalled in 29th place. Our rankings are cumulative, but with bye weeks finished the playing field has leveled for the stretch run. 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 15:

MIAMI HERALD PASS RANKINGS / WEEK 14
RK    LW    Player, Team                       WK14        Season

1       2       Patrick Mahomes, KC           43.85         528.00

2       1       Drew Brees, NO                   32.05         522.15

3       3       Matt Ryan, ATL                    33.10         495.75

4       6       Ben Roethlisberger, PIT        41.10         479.35

5       4       Kirk Cousins, MIN                 20.40         478.40

6       7       Andrew Luck, IND                40.95         473.95

7       8       Philip Rivers, LAC                28.00         459.90

8       5       Jared Goff, LAR                  -7.00          431.70

9       9       Tom Brady, NE                    37.90         424.00

10     11     Aaron Rodgers, GB               30.80         397.50

11     10     Cam Newton, CAR               20.25         395.20

12     14     Derek Carr, OAK                  43.10         394.70

13     12     Eli Manning, NYG                 29.85         389.50

14     13     Deshaun Watson, HOU         32.35         384.90

15     18     Dak Prescott, DAL               60.75         378.50

16     16     Carson Wentz, PHI              32.40         377.70

17     17     Matthew Stafford, DET       17.05          357.35

18     15     Russell Wilson, SEA            5.60            356.40

19     19     Case Keenum, DEN            18.30          308.95

20     22     Baker Mayfield, CLE          33.90          303.85

21     20     Mitch Trubisky, CHI            6.50            296.95

22     21     Andy Dalton, CIN               DNP            270.30

23     23     Marcus Mariota, TEN          22.10          269.50

24     24     Joe Flacco, BAL                 DNP            246.25

25     25     Alex Smith, WAS                DNP            236.00

29     29     Ryan Tannehill, MIA           36.25          199.90

33     31     Brock Osweiler, MIA           DNP            126.35

Bubble: Blake Bortles, JAC, 229.65. Week 14 best: Prescott, DAL, 60.75 (42-54, 455, 3-2 in win). Week 14 worst: Goff, LAR, minus-7.00 (20-44, 180, 0-4 in loss).

Picks LobosNFL WEEK 14 PIX 'N FANTASY RESULTS: MIXED AND GOOD, BUT...: 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 picksMixed. We went a solid 12-4 overall this past week and a just-OK 8-8 against the spread. We nailed yet another Upset of the Week with Dolphins over Patriots ("Aawwk!"), which we'd have had ATS even without the miracle ending. Had two other outright upsets with Browns over Panthers and Bears over Rams, and also had Raiders-with-points over Steelers. All in all, .500 is not bad at all as "bad" weeks go. Our excellent season continues. Greg's LobosGood, but... The Lobos defeated Sarah Spain 94.2 to 70.8 to open the playoffs. Alas, after a 5-8 regular season, we're in the consolation bracket, not playing for the championship. Still, Tyreek Hill's 22.5 led the 'Bos to feather his chances to lasso season MVL honors. We'll see. #WeAreTheLobos!

Select other recent columns: 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 / NASCAR Needs A Next Big Thing / No More Excuses, Florida Panthers / Dolphins? Heat? Nope. UM Football Owns This Town / To The Good-Guy Grinder In The Shades / Time to Flip the Old Narrative On Miami As a Sports Town / Can 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 06, 2018

The new Back In My Day video: Nail-clipping!; plus Canes, OB, FIU and the rest: We rank the 7 college bowl games with strongest SoFla ties; also, tonight's Jaguars-Titans pick, latest Herald NFL QB rankings, Pix 'n Fantasy results & more

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

1) It's THURSDAY, DECEMBER 6. Visit Greg Cote Tuesday for the link to this week's LeBatard Show best-of podcast. 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): Dolphins beat Bills with DSM poll, Hot Button Top 10 & more. 4) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook and Instagram.

Tonight's Jaguars-Titans pick: Visit Thursday Gem for tonight's Jacksonville-at-Tennessee pick.

Most recent columns: College Football Playoff got it right and more: Why the CFP got it right with Oklahoma for the final spot -- and why the continuing debate is great for the sport. Visit Oklahoma, College Football Win the Day for my latest column. Other recent stuff: 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.

RANKING THE SEVEN BOWLS PLAYED LOCALLY OR INVOLVING STATE TEAMS: Seven of the 39 college football bowl games either being played in South Florida (2) or involve state FBS teams (5). Here they are, based on our interest level:

Bowls1. Orange Bowl Dec. 29: No. 1 Alabama (13-0) vs. No. 4 Oklahoma (12-1) at Hard Rock Stadium -- College Football Playoff national semifinal features the two Heisman Trophy favorites in QBs Tua Tagovailoa of th Crimons Tide and Kyler Murray of the Sooners. What's not to love? 'Bama a huge 13 1/2-point favorite, but does Tide's struggle in SEC title game foreshadow an upset?

2. Pinstripe Bowl Dec. 27: Miami (7-5) vs Wisconsin (7-5), Yankee Stadium, New York -- A glamorous venue but a middling bowl game finds The U a 3 1/2-point favorite as both teams come in off disappointing seasons. One year ago this same matchup graced the Orange Bowl. What a comedown. 

3. Peach Bowl Dec. 29: No. 10 Florida (9-3) vs. No. 7 Michigan (10-2), Atlanta -- Michigan a big 7-point favorite. Gator defense will try to keep it close, but can that offense and erratic quarterbacking keep up with the Wolverines?

4. Fiesta Bowl Jan. 1: No. 8 UCF (12-0) vs. No. 11 LSU (9-3), Glendale, Ariz. -- The team that saddled Miami with a season-opening loss vs. the team trying to complete a second straight perfect season. LSU a 7 1/2-point pick -- fat because Knights are without injured star QB McKenzie Milton.

5. Bahamas Bowl Dec. 21: FIU (8-4) vs. Toledo (7-5), Nassau -- Holy Toledo a 6-point pick but FIU is gunning for a school-record ninth victory of the season to cap Butch Davis' second year. Never underestimate the ButchCats!

6. Gasparilla Bowl Dec. 20: South Florida (7-5) vs. Marshall (8-4), Tampa -- Thundering Herd a 2 1/2-point favorite despite being de facto visiting team, because USF, once 7-0, has stumbled in off five consecutive losses.

7. Boca Raton Bowl Dec. 18: UAB (10-3) vs. Northern Illinois (8-5), FAU Stadium -- Conference USA champ vs. MAC daddies. 'Bama-Birmingham a 1 1/2-point pick. But does anybody outside of these two campuses care even a little? (And do they even care?)

LATEST 'BACK IN MY DAY': NAIL-CLIPPING!: Here's the new BIMD that debuted Tuesday on the LeBatard Show on ESPN Radio and ESPNews:  

DcarrCARR DRIVES TO WIN, TOP TIGHTENS / MIAMI HERALD NFL QB RANKINGS / WEEK 13: The Raiders' Derek Carr (pictured) takes Week 13 honors with a 43.25-point game (a season-low for a win), while Saint Drew Brees' overall season lead shrinks to around six points in the Miami Herald's NFL quarterback rankings. Our rankings are cumulative, but with bye weeks finished the playing field has leveled for the stretch run. 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 14:

MIAMI HERALD PASS RANKINGS / WEEK 13
RK    LW    Player, Team                       WK13        Season

1       1       Drew Brees, NO                   14.35        490.10

2       3       Patrick Mahomes, KC           39.75        484.15

3       2       Matt Ryan, ATL                    15.55        462.65

4       4       Kirk Cousins, MIN                 27.05        458.00

5       5       Jared Goff, LAR                   16.35        438.70

6       7       Ben Roethlisberger, PIT        30.05        438.25

7       6       Andrew Luck, IND                23.40        433.00

8       8       Philip Rivers, LAC                41.95        431.90

9       10     Tom Brady, NE                     36.55        386.10

10     9       Cam Newton, CAR               24.00        374.95

11     12     Aaron Rodgers, GB               26.65        366.70

12     11     Eli Manning, NYG                 16.00        359.65

13     14     Deshaun Watson, HOU         32.20         352.55

14     16     Derek Carr, OAK                  43.25         351.60

15     15     Russell Wilson, SEA             31.25         350.80

16     17     Carson Wentz, PHI              38.30         345.30

17     13     Matthew Stafford, DET       19.25         340.30

18     19     Dak Prescott, DAL              40.40          317.75

19     20     Case Keenum, DEN             18.55         290.65

20     18     Mitch Trubisky, CHI              DNP          290.45

21     21     Andy Dalton, CIN                 DNP          270.30

22     23     Baker Mayfield, CLE           28.85         269.95

23     27     Marcus Mariota, TEN          27.10         247.40

24     22     Joe Flacco, BAL                  DNP           246.25

25     24     Alex Smith, WAS                 DNP           236.00

29     29     Ryan Tannehill, MIA            25.85         163.65

31     31     Brock Osweiler, MIA             DNP          126.35

Bubble: Blake Bortles, JAC, 229.65. Week 13 best: Carr, OAK, 43.25 (29-38, 285, 3-0 in loss). Week 13 worst: Josh McCown, NYJ, 7.40 (17-30, 128, 0-1 in loss).

Picks LobosNFL WEEK 13 PIX 'N FANTASY RESULTS: GOOD 'N GOOD!: 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. ... again! Our strong season continues. We were a solid 11-5 straight-up last week and a stout 10-5-1 against the spread, with Dolphins' win pushing at four points for the tie. Nailed yet another Upset of the Week with Jaguars over Colts ("Aawwk!") and had a big four 'dogs-with-points in Cardinals, Giants, Bucs and Jets. Greg's LobosGood ... for a change. Lobos finished the regular season 5-8 with a 97.5 to 81.1 win over Mina Kimes, with five in double figures led by Zach Ertz's 17.3 points. The ''Bos missed the league's championship-round playoffs but we'll be climbing the consolation ladder. What else is there to do? #WeAreTheLobos!

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