November 23, 2020

G10: Dolphins fall at Denver 20-13. Tua benched but still starter; plus latest Hot Button Top 10 (updated), new Greg Cote Show podcast out now & more

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

1) It's MONDAY, NOVEMBER 23. John Fitzgerald Kennedy, 35th president of the United States, was assassinated in Dallas 57 years ago yesterday. Never forget. 2) Note to readers: Not been writing as much lately because I'm burning a bunch of unused vacation time before end of year. But the blog still chugs on! 3) The Greg Cote Show podcast is now separately on Twitter and Instagram. Join us on both! 4) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): NFL Week 11 picks, Hurricanes season rocked and postponed by COVID, Greg Cote Show podcast Episode 37 & more. 5) Join me on Twitter and Instagram.

Some of our most recent stuff: Marlins Hit History-Making Home Run With Kim NG Hire As GM / Herald Week 10 NFL QB Rankings / Top-10 But Underdogs, Disrespected Hurricanes Rally Past VT in Blacksburg / and In a Pandemic-Battered Season For FIU, Butch Davis' Love Of Coaching Survives.

CoteshowGREG COTE SHOW PODCAST: NEW EPISODE OUT NOW!: Our Miami Herald podcast debuted in March and the new Episode 38 is out now! A new pod drops every Monday morning on Apple, Spotify, Google, Stitcher, Megaphone, iHeart -- wherever you pod, and of course at MiamiHerald.com. Find all 38 we've done so far RIGHT HERE for free. Please listen, subscribe, rate and review. In Ep38 we welcome in special guest Christie Cote to share family secrets and embarrassing stories about her husband Chris and father-in-law Greg. She also talks about being a fan of the winless Jets -- the Dolphins' next opponent. Greg and Chris also chat up Sunday's Fins loss in Denver. And of course there's a new Mount Gregmore (U's) and more. Appreciate you listening each week and check out the new ep!

MiadenverG10: DOLPHINS FALL AT DENVER 20-13. TUA BENCHED BUT STILL STARTER: Miami was due a loss after five straight wins, and Tua was due a less than stellar start. Both happened Sunday as the Dolphins missed a great chance to tie for the AFC East lead and solidify their playoff hopes. Original post: Tua Tagovailoa is 3-0 as a starter with five touchdown passes and zero interceptions — only the second rookie quarterback in the Super Bowl era (Carson Wentz, 2016) to start 3-0 with zero picks. If Tagovailoa bags a fourth consecutive victory Sunday to begin his career he will be only the second rook since 1976 to do that, and the first since Ben Roethlisberger in 2004. Heady stuff, the way the Golden Samoan has introduced himself to Miami. He has helped make the Fins one of 15 teams with six-plus wins, the most ever entering Week 11. He also is a win in Denver Sunday (4:05 p.m., CBS) from hoisting Miami into a tie for the AFC East lead with idle Buffalo. This might give us pause: Miami somehow has lost 10 consecutive road games vs. teams with losing records. Except: Denver has lost eight of the past nine at home vs. teams with winning records. Mile High is no longer a scary visit. The Broncos are in shambles. QB Drew Lock (ribs) is iffy to play and has 10 interceptions in past five games when he does play. The once-proud Denver defense has allowed an average of 36 points during the past four games. The Broncos’ decline and the way Miami is playing are a stark contrast. Can’t recall when last I said what I’m about to: Miami losing on the road Sunday would be a huge surprise. My pick: Dolphins (-3), 27-13. For all of our latest King Sport picks (we're coming off an 11-3 week against the spread), visit NFL Week 11 Gems.

HOT BUTTON TOP 10 (NOVEMBER 22-23): WHAT SOUTH FLORIDA SPORTS FANS ARE TALKING ABOUT: Our blog-exclusive Sunday-into-Monday feature is part week-in-review, part look-ahead. Hot Button means what's on our minds, locally and nationally, from a Miami perspective, as the sports week just past pivots to the week ahead. This week's HB10:

1HButton1. DOLPHINS: Tua Train pulls into Denver, gets derailed in loss: Favored at Denver Sunday and with Jets and Bengals next, we thought Miami could very plausibly be 9-3 after a dozen games. Now, maybe 8-4? The playoffs still loom realistically, by Miami likely must win the next two to have a cushion entering a much tougher four-game stretch to end the regular season. A bit of pressure on Tua Tagovailoa now, too, after his benching late in Sunday's 20-13 loss.

2. HEAT: Miami nabs Memphis forward in NBA Draft, re-signs Dragic: The Heat selected Memphis 6-9 forward Precious Achiuwa 20th overall, seeing him as a big who'll back up Bam Adebayo. Precious has sisters named Grace and Peace, and brothers named Promise, God'sgift, God'swill and God’slove. If Precious is as good at basketball as his family is at naming babies, Miami just won the draft. Free agency opened two days after the draft and Miami quickly re-signed Goran Dragic and role player Meyers Leonard, but is lsing Jae Crowder to Phoenix.

3. HURRICANES: COVID outbreak disrupts, postpones UM season: No. 12 Canes -- how do you win and then drop three spots in The AP poll? -- were supposed to host Georgia Tech Saturday night. But the global coronavirus pandemic had something to say about that. A COVID outbreak got in the way, with much of the UM team including coach Manny Diaz in isolation after positive tests. Presuming no further outbreak, Hurricanes won't play again until December 5 at Wake Forest.

4. INTER MIAMI: Quick playoff exit ends strangest of rookie years: Inter Miami has finished its inaugural expansion season in Major League Soccer with a 7-14-3 record after Friday night's 3-0 loss at Nashville in the first round of the expanded playoffs. Miami had won its final regular season match to clinch the 10th and last spot in the East playoffs. Inter Miami starters Gonzalo Higuain and Leandro Gonzalez Pirez did not play Friday after ill-timed COVID test-positives.

5. COLLEGE FOOTBALL: First CFP ranking due as virus ravages season: The first College Football Playoff raking is out Tuesday and good luck to the committee making sense of this season. Nineteen more games were canceled (12) and postponed (7) this week, including ppd's for Miami-Georgia Tech (see above) and FSU-Clemson. Some games were played. Among results: Gators beat Vandy, FAU won and FIU lost (again).

6. NBA: Crazy week as free agency rolls out two days after draft: A whirlwind: Chris Paul to Suns. Jrue Holiday to Hornets. James Harden turns down $50 million to stay as he attemts to broker deal to join Nets. Anthony Davis not recommitting to Lakers just yet. Giannis mulling options. Toronto re-signs Fred VanFleet. Oh, and Raptors will open season in Tampa after Canada says no home games in Toronto just yet. 

7. UM BASKETBALL: It's opening week for Canes and college hoops: Under the shadow of a pandemic, college basketball gets underway Wednesday, with Gonzaga (AP) and Baylor (coaches) No. 1 in the men's polls and South Carolina dominant in the women's rankings. It's a season of low expectations for UM, with neither team ranked or receiving votes. Canes women open Wednesday at home vs. Jacksonville; Miami men launch next Sunday vs. North Florida.

8. COLLEGE FOOTBALL: Champion LSU rocked by scandal: Ed Orgeron's reigning national champion LSU Tigers program is under fire after a USA Today investigative report found systemic mishandling of sexual misconduct and dating violence complaints against the school's football team. Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards said he was "deeply troubled" and has called for an investigation, and the NCAA won't be far behind.

9. SOCCER: Champions League play resumes this week: UEFA Champions League group play continues Tuesday toward a winnowing to the round of 16. Barcelona, one of four team that are a perfect 3-0 thus far, plays Tuesday. The other three perfectos, Bayern Munich, Manchester City and Liverpool, get back at it Wednesday. Two more weeks of play will follow to complete the group stage.

10. THANKSGIVING: Time to give thanks, if at all possible: Thursday we eat (a lot), watch football (a lot), and enjoy the company of loved ones (but not too close). Many of us, when we say grace before the Thanksgiving banquet, count the blessings of the year. In cursed 2020, that could make for a record-short grace. "Thank God this !@#$%in' year is almost over! Let's eat."

Missing the HB10 cut: Waiting for that first big Marlins offseason deal to trumpet GM Kim Ng's arrival ..... R.I.P., Jake Scott, Dolphins career leader in interceptions. Free safety, free spirit, gone at 75 ..... As MLB free agency rolls out, sport suspended Mets 2B Robinson Cano an entire season for PEDs. So long, Cooperstown ..... Baseball Hall of Fame ballots have been mailed, and I (a voter) received mine. Rudy Guiliani is standing by to contest the results of the election ..... The wife of Lions QB Matthew Stafford on Instagram called Michigan a "dictatorship" for its COVID lockdown rules, was shouted down by rational people aware there is a pandemic, and had to apologize ..... LaVar Ball vs. Michael Jordan 1-on-1? Yes, please. But only if it is guaranteed MJ will crush and humiliate the world's most annoying sports dad ..... Florida Panthers have entered into an affiliation agreement with the ECHL's Greenville Swamp Rabbits. Minor-league nicknames rule! ..... The Greg Cote Show podcast's new Episode 38 drops Monday! ..... Update: Countdown now 2,045 days (give or take) until Miami hosts its first match in soccer's 2026 World Cup.

Select other most recent columns: Stop the Silly Noise And Speculation. Give Dolphins' Tua Time And a Fair Chance / Fans of ESPN's Dan Le Batard Show With Stugotz Should Prepare For Another Change / Dolphins Defense Makes It Easy For Tua In First NFL Start Drama, Controversy, Torqued-Up Pressure: Welcome to Tua Week In Miami / Turner, With COVID, Joining Dodgers Celebration A Sadly Fitting End to Season  / Dolphins Turning to Tua Now Is Risky -- But Right Move/ and Heat, Marlins, Canes -- now Tua. Miserable 2020 Suddenly Great Time To Be Miami Fan.

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THE ARCHIVES:

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

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

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

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

November 09, 2020

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

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

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

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

Our Hurricanes-N.C. State column: Canes Keep Beating Teams They Should (If Barely). Other most recent stuff: In a Pandemic-Battered Season For FIU, Butch Davis' Love Of Coaching Survives / Stop the Silly Noise And Speculation. Give Dolphins' Tua Time And a Fair Chance / and Fans of ESPN's Dan Le Batard Show With Stugotz Should Prepare For Another Change.

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

HOT BUTTON TOP 10 (NOVEMBER 8-9): WHAT SOUTH FLORIDA SPORTS FANS ARE TALKING ABOUTOur blog-exclusive Sunday-into-Monday feature is part week-in-review, part look-ahead. Hot Button means what's on our minds, locally and nationally, from a Miami perspective, as the sports week just past pivots to the week ahead. This week's HB10:

HButton1. DOLPHINS: Tua leads Miami to 4th straight win in road debut!: Fins won a fourth straight game (last accomplished by Miami in 2016) out west Sunday, 34-31, at Arizona as rookie QB Tua Tagovailoa passed for 248 yards and two touchdowns in his first start on the road. The Dolphins are angling into playoff contention after five wins in past six games.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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THE ARCHIVES:

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

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

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

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

October 26, 2020

Latest Hot Button Top 10 (updated): Topping the marquee, a Fins QB change tinged in drama, wins by Canes and Inter Miami win and World Series; plus Greg Cote Show podcast new episode 34 out now!, NFL Week 7 picks & more

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

1) It's MONDAY, OCTOBER 26. Hope y'all had a nice weekend! 2) The Greg Cote Show podcast is now separately on Twitter and Instagram. Join us on both! 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Hurricanes host Virginia with preview and pick, FIU falls badly, NFL Week 7 picks, Greg Cote Show podcast Episode 33 & more. 4) Join me on Twitter and Instagram.

Most recent stuff from me: NFL Week 7 picks, Dolphins' QB change and fun time in Miami sports: NFL Week 7 Gems // Dolphins Turning to Tua Now Is Risky -- But Right Move // Heat, Marlins, Canes -- now Tua. Miserable 2020 Suddenly Great Time To Be Miami Fan.

CoteshowGREG COTE SHOW PODCAST: NEW EPISODE 34 OUT NOW!: Our Miami Herald podcast debuted in March and the new Episode 34 is out now! A new pod drops every Monday morning on Apple, Spotify, Google, Stitcher, Megaphone, iHeart -- wherever you pod, and of course at MiamiHerald.com. Find all 34 we've done so far RIGHT HERE for free. Please listen, subscribe, rate and review. In new Ep34, myself and Chris engage in a sometimes contentious debate over the Dolphins quarterback-change drama, Chris reveals his first career parenting faux pas, and we offer a new edition of 'Greg Doesn't Know Movies.' And of course a new Mount Gregmore, too -- the Q's. Hear all that and more on the new Greg Cote Show podcast!

HOT BUTTON TOP 10 (OCTOBER 25-26): WHAT SOUTH FLORIDA SPORTS FANS ARE TALKING ABOUT: Our blog-exclusive Sunday-into-Monday feature is part week-in-review, part look-ahead. Hot Button means what's on our minds, locally and nationally, from a Miami perspective, as the sports week just past pivots to the week ahead. This week's HB10:

HButton1. DOLPHINS: Miami names Tagovailoa starter, benches Fitzpatrick: Can't say the Fins didn't pack major news and unwanted controversy into their bye week. Miami named rookie Tua Tagovailoa as starting quarterback beginning next Sunday, with benched Ryan Fitzpatrick admitting surprise and disappointing and calling himself "heartbroken." Fins have won two in a row, with Fitzpatrick playing well. His reaction turns up the pressure on Brian Flores to have made the right call -- and on Tua to justify his coach's faith, and timing.

2. HURRICANES: UM doesn't dominate but gets past Virginia: No. 11 Miami never trailed Saturday here in a 19-14 victory over Virginia that was more efficient than overly impressive. D'Eriq King's 322 yards passing -- 170 of them to Mike Harley -- fueled the home win. With No. 8 Penn State losing, the now 5-1 Canes are likely to  nudge up into the top 10 in the next polls. 

3. MLB: Dodgers on brink of World Series title: Dodgers lead Rays 3-2 in games after last night's 4-2 Los Angeles win -- putting L.A. one more victory from its first World Series crown since 1988. Does Tampa Bay have another comeback in it? The Series pauses today before resuming with Tuesday night. And the city that just celebrated the Lakers i poised again.

4. INTER MIAMI: A dramatic late home win for Miami over Orlando: MLS expansion team Inter Miami is now 6-11-3 -- a credible 6-6-3 since an 0-5 start -- after Saturday's 2-1 win over rival Orlando City before a limited number of fans in Fort Lauderdale. Leandro Gonzalez-Pirez headed in  an 89th minute goal off a corner kick to decide it. Next match: Wednesday at FC Dallas.

5. COLLEGE FOOTBALL: Cowardly Big Ten, Ohio State join season: No. 5 Ohio State and the Big Ten began their season Saturday, after righteously saying they would not play in 2020 due to the COVID threat -- and then changing their minds, putting money over safety. (Buckeyes beat Nebraska, 52-17, Saturday). Pac-12 also went from not playing to changing its mind and will begin play November 7.

6. NBA: League mulls starting next season sooner, playing fewer games: COVID shows no signs it will stop messing with sports anytime soon. As the NBA plans for a delayed, virtual draft next month, the league's board of governors met and discussed possible changes to the 2020-21 season, including starting as quickly as possible -- as soon as Christmas Day -- playing fewer than 82 games and not waiting for fans to be permitted to all arenas.

7. HEAT: Riley hints at offseason plans: Godfather Pat Riley in his annual postseason state-of-the Heat news conference suggested he's reday to stand pat next season with a team that unexpectedly reached the NBA Finals as a 5 seed. Said he'd keep the team as close to intact as possible and maintain spending money to go whale-hunting in 2021. Our takeaway: Re-sign as many of own free agents as possible -- priority: Goran Dragic -- and gun hard for Giannis Antetokounmpo next summer.

8. SOCCER: Barcelona-Juventus spices Champions League play: UEFA Champions League group-stage play is underway, and this Wednesday delivers the much anticipated Barcelona-Juventus match in Group G. It would pit longtime rival soccer gods Lionel Messi of Barca vs. Juve's Cristiano Ronaldo -- if Ronaldo is cleared to play after testing positive for COVID on October 13. Butsome reports in Europe are that he'll be ruled out.

9. NASCAR: Logano first to reach Championship 4: Joey Logano's win at Kansas made him the first to qualify for the November 8 championship race in Phoenix. Two more runs (Monday at Texas after Sunday's rain postponement and November 1 at Martinsville) will complete the Championship 4 field, with Kevin Harvick, Denny Hamlin and Brad Keselowski currently owning the inside track.

10. FIU: Butch Davis' miserable 2020 gets worse: Panthers football fell to 0-3 Friday night, absorbing an embarrassing 19-10 home loss to FCS-level Jacksonville State. This after three FIU games already had been postponed by COVID issues. Otherwise, everything going great for Butch Davis!

Missing the HB10 cut: Antonio Brown to Bucs. A 32-year-old problem child on a team with Mike Evans and Chris Godwin getting enough targets to keep him happy? Yeah good luck with that, Tom Brady ..... Steelers-Titans today is only sixth time in Super Bowl era two unbeaten teams have met this late in a season ..... 0Congrats Stan Van Gundy on the New Orleans Pelicans job. He inherits Zion Williamson. Also, Lonzo Ball's dad! ..... Nurmagomedov vs. Gaethje in UFC 254. Betting favorite: Me misspelling one of their names ..... South Park cutouts to be seen at Broncos-Chiefs game Sunday ..... Ha! ESPN's Adam Schefter added Antonio Brown to his fantasy team moments before tweeting out the news Brown's suspension had been lifted and the Seahawks were interested ..... Happy birthday to Pele'. The Brazilian soccer legend turned 80 on Friday ..... The Greg Cote Show podcast's new Episode 34 drops Monday! ..... Update: Countdown now 2,073 days (give or take) until Miami hosts its first match in soccer's 2026 World Cup.

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THE ARCHIVES:

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

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

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

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

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

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

October 19, 2020

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

THE ARCHIVES:

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

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

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

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

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

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

October 12, 2020

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

THE ARCHIVES:

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

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

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

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

August 31, 2020

The new Hot Button Top 10 (updated): Boycotts, fans at HRS, Heat-Bucks, death in Fins family. See who's No. 1 and what else falls where; plus Greg Cote Show podcast new Episode 26 out now! & more

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

1) It's MONDAY, AUGUST 31. Farewell, Augie. Will you be better, September? 2) The Greg Cote Show podcast is now separately on Twitter and Instagram. Follow us on both! 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Boycotts show injustice is bigger than sports right now, Allowing fans in Dolphins and Canes games a bad idea, Greg Cote Show podcast Episode 25 & more. 4) Join us on Twitter and Instagram.

CoteshowGREG COTE SHOW PODCAST: NEW EPISODE 26 OUT NOW!: Our Miami Herald podcast, "The Greg Cote Show With Greg Cote," debuted in March and we're back with new Episode 26! New episodes drop early every Monday on Apple, Spotify, Google, Stitcher, Megaphone, iHeart or wherever you pod, and of course at MiamiHerald.com. Find all 26 we've done so far RIGHT HERE for free! Please listen, subscribe, rate and review. In Ep26 we chat up new TV finds, rank the five South Florida pro teams in terms of brightest future, and welcome in guest Roy Bellamy from the Le Batard Show. (Or do we?) Mount Gregmore, too, of course. We also had a lengthy discussion of the Armando Salguero controversy within the Herald, but unfortunately you won't here it. It was censored from the podcast. Listen now. 

Our two newest columns: Boycott Of NBA Playoffs Shows Nation That Injustice Is Bigger Than Sports Right Now and Having Fans at Dolphins, Canes Games A Bad Idea And Big RiskMost recent other columns: Pat Riley's Grand Plan On Track As Heat Close In On Playoff Advance / For Marlins, A Home Opener -- And First Place -- In Mid-August / Fractured College Football Mirrors America's Divide On How to Handle a Pandemic / Fall Without Football: Big Ten, Pac-12 Set Moral Compass for NFL, Others to Follow / As Panthers Move on From Tallon, Who's Next Miami Team Executive on Hot Seat? / and ''Perfect Storm For Virus Transmission': Why Football Is Struggling to Lift Off.

HOT BUTTON TOP 10 (AUGUST 30-31): WHAT SOUTH FLORIDA SPORTS FANS ARE TALKING ABOUT: Our blog-exclusive Sunday-into-Monday feature is part week-in-review, part look-ahead. Hot Button means what's on our minds, locally and nationally, from a Miami perspective, as the sports week just past pivots to the week ahead. This week's HB10:

HButton1. RACIAL JUSTICE: Boycotts over Jacob Blake shooting halt sports: It started with the Bucks refusing to take the court for their playoff game vs. Orlando to protest the police shooting of (yet another) unarmed Black man -- this in Kenosha, Wisconsin, 45 minutes from Milwaukee. The to or three day boycott spread through the NBA, WNBA, MLB, MLS and NHL as athletes demonstrated that injustice is bigger than sports -- that systemic racism is no game.

2. COVID-19: Limited Fins, Canes fans ruled OK at Hard Rock this fall: Miami-Dade County decreed that Hard Rock Stadium may be filled to 20 percent capacity -- that's 13,000 fans -- for Dolphins and Hurricanes home games this fall. UM opens at home September 10 vs UAB; Fins' home opener is September 20 vs. Buffalo. Allowing thousands of fans at games seems like a really good idea, other than us being in the middle of a pandemic and Miami-Dade being among the top 10 counties nationally in most COVID-19 deaths.

3. HEAT: It's Milwaukee (as expected) in next playoff round for Miami: NBA playoffs resumed after three days of boycotts that inadvertently meant additional rest for Miami, which advanced with a sweep of Indiana. Milwaukee eliminated Orlando Saturday and will face Heat in next round starting Monday at 6:30 in the Orlando bubble. Lakers also advanced Saturday; Clippers did the same on Sunday.

4. DOLPHINS: QB Fitzpatrick takes leave from team after death in family: The mother of Dolphins quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick passed away Saturday morning just before the team's stadium scrimmage, and he has left the team indefinitely to be with family. There are no indications he wouldn't be back in time for the September 13 season opener at New England, although coach Brian Flores offered no guarantee. Ready or not for Tua time? We'll see.

5. MARLINS: Bats quiet as Fish drop fourth in a row: Miami fell to 14-15 and hangs onto a tie for second in NL East after a fourth straight loss Sunday and a sweep by Tampa Bay. Fish are clinging to the far edge of playoff contention nearing the midway point of the truncated 60-game season. Monday the Marlins face the Mets to make up Thursday's game postponed by racial-justice protest. Meanwhile rookie Sixto Sanchez's second straight impressive start featured 10 strikeouts and one walk in a no-decision loss Friday.

6. TENNIS: Depleted, fan-less U.S. Open begins Monday: Path to history has cleared for Serena Williams and it's even easier for Novak Djokovic as the U.S. Open fortnight starts Monday in New York. Six of top eight women including Simona Halep (opt out) aren't playing as Serena guns for record-tying 24th career major, and Djokovic should breeze in a field missing Roger Federer (knee) and Rafael Nadal (opt out). Djokovic is heavy favorite; Serena and Naomi Osaka are near-even. Event also marks return of Andy Murray and Kim Clijsters -- in her first major since 2012. 

7. SOCCER: Where will Messi land if split with Barca happens?: Soccer god Lionel Messi reportedly wants out of Barcelona, his career-long club, and some of the biggest teams in the world are jockeying to acquire the 33-year-old forward. Manchester City, Inter Milan, Paris-Saint Germain and Juventus are among the power clubs rumored after Messi. (Join me in starting an Inter Miami rumor?) But wait! Barca is resolute to not let hi  go. Stay tuned.

8. INTER MIAMI: New team back in play, loses again: Major League Soccer returned to play after six Wednesday matches Including Inter Miami-Atlanta were postponed by the racial injustice boycott. Inter Miami fell to 1-6 Sunday with a 1-0 loss at Nashville that followed the expansion team's maiden win last Saturday in its home debut. Inter Miami is back in action Wednesday at Atlanta United. 

9. NHL: Playoffs down to final eight as postseason resumes: NHL postponed Thursday and Friday games as part of the sports-wide racial justice boycott, but Stanley Cup playoffs resumed Saturday. Hockey is down to its final eight: Tampa Bay-Boston and Philadelphia-N.Y. Islanders in the East, and Vegas-Vancouver and Colorado-Dallas out West. Meanwhile, as the Florida Panthers continue search for a new general manager, the NHL is investigating an anonymous allegation that deposed GM Dale Tallon used racist language.

10. COLLEGE FOOTBALL: Weirdest of all seasons is (sort of) underway!: Week 1 in college football kicked off quietly Saturday night as Central Arkansas beat Austin Peay 24-17 in a second-tier FCS matchup before limited fans in Montgomery, Alabama. No Top 25 teams are in play this week as the sport gets underway in a pandemic -- minus a large percentage of conferences opting out including two (Big Ten, Pac-12) Power 5 leagues. Week 2 will see the proper start of the season, including Hurricanes vs. UAB on Thursday, September 10.

Missing the HB10 cut: R.I.P. John Thompson Jr. Legendary Georgetown hoops coach has died at 78 ..... Phil Mickelson said hello to old age and kicked its ass. The lefty, who turned 50 in June, made his PGA Champions (nee Senior Tour) debut and went wire-to-wire for a four-stroke win at Ozarks National in Missouri. He's preparing to challenge the younger guys again in the delayed-from-June U.S. Open on September 17-20 ..... The Dolphins traded Raekwon McMillan and a 2021 fifth-round pick to Las Vegas for a 2021 fourth-rounder. The linebacker was a second round pick in 2017. If not an outright bust, that makes him bust-ish ..... What are you seeing when you look in the mirror, Brian Urlacher? ..... OK, and the NFL needs how many more reasons to force out Daniel Snyder as Washington's owner? ..... The Bucks' Giannis Antetokounmpo was named NBA Defensive Player of the year after winning MVP last year. He's the fifth to win both, after Michael Jordan, David Robinson, Hakeem Olajuwon and Kevin Garnett ..... A-Rod and J-Lo are out of the running to buy the Mets. That's 2-Bad ..... Truly Dumb Ideas, one in a series: The Big Ten, which said it would not play football in 2020, now reportedly is mulling a Thanksgiving start ..... The three-week Tour de France is underway. It was more fun when all the bike tires were being punctured because discarded steroid needles were everywhere ..... MLB trade deadline is Monday ..... Answer: Usain Bolt tested positive for COVID-19 after attending a massive, mask-less birthday party. Question: And you wonder why this pandemic will be around a lot longer? ..... The Greg Cote Show podcast's Episode 26 is out Monday morning ..... Update: Countdown now 2,129 days (give or take) until Miami hosts its first match in soccer's 2026 World Cup. Hopefully we'll all be out of our masks by then?

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THE COTE ARCHIVES:

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

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

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

Other most recent columns: Here's Why Nobody Should Rule Out Heat Reaching NBA Finals / Marlins and Dolphins, In a Race For Relevance, Offer Hope At a Time We Need That / When Will Dolphins Unleash Tua? Exploring the Timetable as Rookies Report / Sports Resume, But Major Concerns Complicate Opening of Football Training Camps / He Made a Mistake, But Miami Knows Who Dwyane Wade Is And Knows It By Heart / Marlins Captain Miguel Rojas On Pandemic And Playoffs As Baseball Returns / Rest In Pieces, Redskins. Now Here Are Sports' Other Suspect Nicknames / 'Redskins Is Racist Nickname Based On a Lie. Time For It to Disappear / Money Or Health? NFL and Major College Football Face A Decision / Tough Times All Around, But Rise Of Miami Sports Offers Hope / The Face Of Miami Sports in 2020: Our Top 20 And Who's No.1 / Time to Abort Season Restarts and Call Off Sports For Rest Of 2020 / Uh-oh. Cam Newton means Belichick and Patriots Are Back / Saving the National Anthem From Sporting-Event Extinction / Baseball Joins In With Restart Plan. But Is Sports Walking Into a Giant Mess? / Noose Left For NASCAR's Bubba Wallace's Only Grows Resolve to End Racial Hatred / and Team That Signs Kaepernick Will Be Champions Of the Street

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

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

August 24, 2020

The new Hot Button Top 10 (updated): Inter Miami wins, Heat in command, Sixto wins debut, Paris-Bayern. See who's No. 1 and and what else falls where; plus Greg Cote Show podcast new Episode 25 out now!, links to recent columns & more

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

1) It's MONDAY, AUGUST 24. The Greg Cote Show podcast is now separately on Twitter and Instagram. Follow us on both! 2) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Riley's grand plan on track as Heat near playoff advance, Greg Cote Show podcast on a bye week & more. 3) Join us on Twitter and Instagram.

CoteshowGREG COTE SHOW PODCAST: SILVER POD-IVERSARY EPISODE 25 OUT NOW!: Our Miami Herald podcast, "The Greg Cote Show With Greg Cote," debuted in March and we're back with Silver Pod-iversary Episode 25, out now! New episodes drop Monday mornings on Apple, Spotify, Google, Stitcher, Megaphone, iHeart or wherever you pod, and of course at MiamiHerald.com. Find all 25 we've done RIGHT HERE. Free! Please listen, subscribe, rate and review. In new Ep25 we chat with special guest Mike Tannenbaum, the former Dolphins and NFL executive, about Tua and the Fins; Juju Gotti drops by; Greg saves the U.S. Postal Service'and of course we bring you the Mount Gregmore Name Game -- H's! All that and more in new Ep25! 

Latest column: Pat Riley's Grand Plan On Track As Heat Close In On Playoff Advance

Other most recent columns: For Marlins, A Home Opener -- And First Place -- In Mid-August / Fractured College Football Mirrors America's Divide On How to Handle a Pandemic / Fall Without Football: Big Ten, Pac-12 Set Moral Compass for NFL, Others to Follow / As Panthers Move on From Tallon, Who's Next Miami Team Executive on Hot Seat? / ''Perfect Storm For Virus Transmission': Why Football Is Struggling to Lift Off 

HOT BUTTON TOP 10 (AUGUST 23-24): WHAT SOUTH FLORIDA SPORTS FANS ARE TALKING ABOUT: Our blog-exclusive Sunday-into-Monday feature is part week-in-review, part look-ahead. Hot Button means what's on our minds, locally and nationally, from a Miami perspective, as the sports week just past pivots to the week ahead. This week's HB10:

HButton1. INTER MIAMI: Finally! MLS expansion team plays at home --and wins!: Five months later than planned due to the coronavirus, Inter Miami finally played its first home match Saturday, albeit in front of cardboard fans at its temporary stadium in Fort Lauderdale. The bigger news: A win! Coming in 0-5, Miami beat natural rival Orlando City 3-2 on a pair of goals by Julian Carranza, a 20-year-old Argentine, and one by team star Rodolfo Pizarro. Next up for Miami: Wednesday back home vs. Atlanta United, and next Sunday at Nashville SC.

2. HEAT: Miami takes commanding 3-0 series lead over Pacers: This one's (all but) over. Miami took a 3-0 first-round NBA playoff series lead over Indiana with Saturday's 124-115 win. Four 20-ppiint scorers led the way: Jimmy Butler 27, Goran Dragic 24, Bam Adebayo 22 and Tyler Herro 20 off the bench. Heat can earn club's first playoff advance since 2016 in Game 4 in the Orlando bubble Monday evening. (Toronto and Boston are the first two teams to advance, both with sweeps). 

3. MARLINS: Sanchez wins in debut; Fish fall Sunday: The Marlins are hanging onto second place in NL East after Saturday's double-header split at Washington -- led by Sixto Sanche'z win in his first start for Miami -- then a loss Sunday. Fish had earlier snapped a recent five-game losing streak when Miguel Rojas homered in his first game back after a COVID-19 related absence. Miami has now had 11 games postponed by the virus, most recently when two Mets got it. Fish are in midst of an eight-game road trip. (Be smart, guys. Nobody sneaks out, right?)

4. SOCCER: It's Bayern Munich atop UEFA Champions League: It was Germany's mighty Bayern Munich defeating French power Paris-St. Germain 1-0 on Sunday in the UEFA Championship League title match in Lisbon, Portugal. Both advanced with no-doubt 3-0 semifinal verdicts, Bayern over Lyon and Paris over Leipzig, forming the battle for one of the major international futbol trophies.

5. COLLEGE FOOTBALL: NCAA grants extra year to fall-sport athletes: In the wake of the Big Ten, Pac-12 and other smaller conferences opting to not risk playing football in 2020 due to the pandemic, the NCAA Division I board of directors voted to give all fall sport student-athletes an additional year of eligibility and an extra year to complete it through a blanket waiver. Meanwhile Ohio State QB Justin Fields began a petition against the Big Ten postponement. The other three of the Power 5 conferences plan to play as scheduled, at least for now.

6. DOLPHINS: Three weeks from opener, a bit of QB tumult: Starter-for-now Ryan Ftzpatrick returned after missing one practice due to  mysterious Whel personal reasons. Meantime quarterback of the future Tua Tagovailoa looks healthy (the good news) but not close to NFL-ready yet (the bad). Josh "Remember Me" Rosen has looked better than Tua at times. Ready or not, Fins open at New England in three weeks.

7. HURRICANES: RB Harris stars in second fall scrimmage: Miami’s offensive star Saturday in its second fall football scrimmage was junior running back Cam’Ron Harris, who scored three touchdowns, rushed for 77 yards on 13 carries and caught five passes. With the ACC one of three of the Power 5 conferences still planning to play this fall, the Hurricanes are set to open in 18 days, September 10 at home vs. UAB, though likely in an empty stadium.

8. NHL: Dallas first to win as conference semifinals underway: While the eliminated Florida Panthers continue their search to replace departed general manger Dale Tallon, the Stanley Cup playoffs skate into the conference semifinals -- the final eight. In the West it's Dallas up 1-0 on Colorado after a 5-3 win Saturday, with Vegas 1-0 on Vancouver. In the East it's Boston 1-0 over Tampa Bay and Philadelphia-New York Islanders starting Monday. 

9. NBA: Lottery awards No. 1 overall draft pick to Minnesota: In a lottery drawing for the delayed-unti- October 16 NBA Draft, the Minnesota Timberwolves lucked to draw the top pick. Their likely choice? Point guard LaMelo Ball, who eschewed American college ball and has been playing in Australia. Uh oh. Brace yourself for the reemergence of the dreaded Annoying Dad we haven't heard from lately to our great delight -- LaVar Ball.

10. MLB: Padres make grand slam history: The San Diego Padres hit a grand slam in four straight games, an MLB first. Hadn't been done in even three straight since 2006. And three straight by an NL team had last been done by the Cleveland Spiders in (!) 1895. I was there. Quite a feat.

Missing the HB10 cut: Oscar de la Hoya, 47, says he is coming out of retirement. (Cash-strapped, Oscar?) Over/under on his retiring again following an embarrassing comeback defeat: Four months ...... First Bubba Wallace leads a successful fight to ban Confederate flags at all NASCAR tracks. Now Erik Moses is named president of Nashville Superspeedway, becoming the first Black man to hold that title at any of the sport's tracks. Welcome to the 21st Century, NASCAR! Been waitin' for ya ..... Baseball and its damned "unwritten rules"! Somebody please just write them down for poor Fernando Tatis ..... The Greg Cote Show podcast returns Monday morning with extravaganza silver pod-iversary Episode 25! ..... Update: Countdown now 2,136 days (give or take) until Miami hosts its first match in soccer's 2026 World Cup. Hopefully we'll all be back to uncomfortably close social interaction by then.

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THE COTE ARCHIVES:

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

Other most recent columns: Here's Why Nobody Should Rule Out Heat Reaching NBA FinalsMarlins and Dolphins, In a Race For Relevance, Offer Hope At a Time We Need That / When Will Dolphins Unleash Tua? Exploring the Timetable as Rookies Report / Sports Resume, But Major Concerns Complicate Opening of Football Training Camps / He Made a Mistake, But Miami Knows Who Dwyane Wade Is And Knows It By Heart / Marlins Captain Miguel Rojas On Pandemic And Playoffs As Baseball Returns / Rest In Pieces, Redskins. Now Here Are Sports' Other Suspect Nicknames / 'Redskins Is Racist Nickname Based On a Lie. Time For It to Disappear / Money Or Health? NFL and Major College Football Face A Decision / Tough Times All Around, But Rise Of Miami Sports Offers Hope / The Face Of Miami Sports in 2020: Our Top 20 And Who's No.1 / Time to Abort Season Restarts and Call Off Sports For Rest Of 2020 / Uh-oh. Cam Newton means Belichick and Patriots Are Back / Saving the National Anthem From Sporting-Event Extinction / Baseball Joins In With Restart Plan. But Is Sports Walking Into a Giant Mess? / Noose Left For NASCAR's Bubba Wallace's Only Grows Resolve to End Racial Hatred / and Team That Signs Kaepernick Will Be Champions Of the Street

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

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

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

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

August 17, 2020

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

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

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

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

Our most recent columns:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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THE COTE ARCHIVES:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

August 10, 2020

The new Hot Button Top 10 (updated): Flying Fish, dead Cats and Fins lead scrum for No.1 spot. See what falls where; plus Greg Cote Show podcast's new Episode 24 out now!, links to latest columns & more

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

1) It's MONDAY, AUGUST 10. Our Greg Cote Show podcast is now separately on Twitter and Instagram. Follow us on both! 2) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Football as 'perfect storm for virus transmission,' Don't rule out Heat reaching NBA Finals, Greg Cote Show podcast Episode 23 & more. 3) Join us on Twitter and Instagram.

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

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

HOT BUTTON TOP 10 (AUGUST 9-10): WHAT SOUTH FLORIDA SPORTS FANS ARE TALKING ABOUT: Our blog-exclusive Sunday-into-Monday feature is part week-in-review, part look-ahead. Hot Button means what's on our minds, locally and nationally, from a Miami perspective, as the sports week just past pivots to the week ahead. This week's HB10:

HButton1. MARLINS: Finally! Much-delayed home opener is this Friday: Marlins are 5-2 since the restart and 7-3 overall, all on the road, and depleted by COVID-19 absences. Don Mattingly for manager of the year! Fins will have played 12 straight away from home before finally debuting at a fan-less Marlins Park this Friday vs. Atlanta. BTW, Mattingly's 282nd win passed Jack McKeon for club record.

2. PANTHERS: Season done. Cats eliminated. GM Tallon out: NHL season ended Friday for Florida in a no-doubt-about-it 5-1 loss to the Islanders in the Toronto bubble, giving NYI a decisive 3-1 series win to advance into the full Stanley Cup playoffs. Given the big offseason -- hiring star coach Joel Quenneville, signing top goalie Sergei Bobrovsky-- call it yet another disappointing season for Florida. As a result: Monday, the club announced a mutual parting of the ways with longtime general manager Dale Tallon.

3. DOLPHINS: Coronavirus begins hitting Fins hard: Dolphins had been lucky as training camp began, but this week two players sure to have made the team and been major contributors -- receivers Albert Wilson and Allen Hurns -- opted out of the 2020 season over coronavirus concerns. And six more players were temporarily deactivated Thursday onto the COVID-19 list including prominent defensive linemen Shaq Lawson and Raekwon Davis.

4. HEAT: It's Miami-Indiana with seeding on line Monday: Miami is 2-3 in the bubble after Saturday's loss to Phoenix, and Heat's chances of reaching the NBA Finals seem slimmer after losses to East powers Toronto and Milwaukee. With three regular season games left before playoffs Miami is in fight for fourth place with Indiana -- and teams play Monday night.

5. HURRICANES: UM football loses sack-star Rousseau to opt-out: Canes' full fall training camp opened on Friday with some bad news. ACC sacks leader and likely first-round NFL draft pick Gregory Rousseau is opting out of the coming season (should there be one), a huge blow. UM receives votes in preseason coaches poll (34th overall). Miami's 11-game schedule includes No. 1 Clemson, 19th-ranked North Carolina and No. 24 Virginia Tech. Season opens Sept. 10 vs UAB, fans-or-no-fans to be announced.

6. GOLF: Who!? Morikawa win PGA Championship: Dustin Johnson could not hold a lead entering the fourth round and little-known Collin Morikawa on Sunday won the year's first major by two strokes in San Francisco. Tiger Woods finished strong but ended tied for 37th place. No fans were there watching, unless you count the seagulls. 

7. NFL: Final opt-outs at 67 players leaguewide: At this week's deadline 67 NFL players from 28 teams had opted out of the 2020 season related to the coronavirus. Patriots had the most with eight, while only teams with zero were the Chargers, Falcons, Rams and Steelers. Miami had two (see above). Players may opt out beyond the deadline, however, if they or a close family member contract the virus.

8. INTER MIAMI: MLS announces resumption of regular season: Orlando City and Philadelphia will play Tuesday in the Orlando bubble for the MLS Is Back tournament title, the winner qualifying for the 2021 CONCACAF Champions League. To follow: A resumption of the MLS regular season. Expansion team Inter Miami is 0-5 -- every loss by one goal and all away from home -- returns to play on August 22 vs. Orlando City in Fort Lauderdale. Teams will play in home stadiums, but in most markets, including South Florida, fans will not be allowed.

9. SOCCER: UEFA Champions League reaches quarterfinals: Final eight are set in Champions League: Atalanta vs. Paris Saint-Germain this Wednesday; Leipzig vs. Atletico Madrid on Thursday; Barcelona vs. Bayern Munich on Friday; and Manchester City vs. Lyon on Saturday. Man City and and Bayern are betting co-favorites for the trophy.

10. TENNIS: Nadal opts out of upcoming U.S. Open: The Grand Slam event in New York is scheduled to go on August 31 to September 13 without fans -- and, now, with men's star Rafael Nadal. The former Capri pants-wearing Spaniard will skip the Open over coronavirus concerns. 

Missing the HB10 cut: The Mid-American Conference will not play football in the fall. The MAC becomes the first FBS-level league to opt out of the 2020 season over coronavirus concerns ..... A Patrick Mahomes-Josh Allen 'Throw-Off' to see who has the strongest arm? Headline I'm imagining: 'Star QBs Injure Arms in Dumb Throwing Contest' ..... Free agent Antonio Brown, looking for work at 32 and now suspended first eight games of NFL season? Don't even think about it, Dolphins ..... Green Bay Packers announce no fans for at least first two home games. Lamb-oh-no Field ..... Headline of the week: "A's Coach Sorry For Making Apparent Nazi Salute" ..... Are the Indians still the Indians? ..... T-shirt of the Week honors to WNBA players for 'Vote Warnock' ..... The Greg Cote Show podcast is out with new Episode 24 on Monday ..... Update: Countdown now 2,150 days (give or take) until Miami hosts its first match in soccer's 2026 World Cup. Out of our face masks by then? Maybe?

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

THE COTE ARCHIVES:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

August 03, 2020

Greg Cote Show podcast new Episode 23 out now! Heat! Marlins! Leftovers! Mount Gregmore!; plus latest Hot Button Top 10. See who's No. 1 and what else ranks where; also, our Marlins Hell Week column trilogy & more

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

1) It's MONDAY, AUGUST 3. Welcome, August. Be nice. And thank you, Isaias, for going easy on us. 2) Our Greg Cote Show podcast is now separately on Twitter and Instagram. Follow us on both! 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Marlins Hell Week column trilogy, Greg Cote Show podcast Episode 22 & more. 4) Join us on Twitter and Instagram.

CoteshowGREG COTE SHOW PODCAST: NEW EPISODE 23 OUT NOW!: Our Miami Herald podcast, "The Greg Cote Show With Greg Cote," debuted in March and new Episode 23 is out now! A new episode drops every Monday morning on Apple, Spotify, Google, Stitcher, Megaphone, iHeart or wherever you do your podding, and of course at MiamiHerald.com. Find all 23 we've done so far RIGHT HERE. Free! No paywall! Please listen, subscribe, rate and review. In new Episode 23 Greg and Chris are joined by two special guests. ESPN's Amin Elhassan is in to discuss the Miami Heat/NBA restart and leftovers. (Yes, leftovers). And Herald Marlins writer Jordan McPherson joins us to talk about working in a pandemic hotspot and covering the team whose season was derailed by a COVID-19 outbreak. New episode also includes the latest Mount Gregmore Name Game (F's). Hear all of that and more now in new Ep22! 

DonmatMarlins Hell Week: Column Trilogy: As Miami's COVID-19 outbreak wreaks havoc with the roster and with MLB, putting the Marlins season on pause: Latest: Are Marlins To Blame For Own Outbreak? If So It Would Mirror America's Struggle / Middle: Marlins Outbreak Worsens, Sports Should Rethink Playing Again in 2020 / And first: Marlins Delaying Home Opener For COVID Outbreak a Scary Lesson For All Sports.

Our most recent other columns: Marlins and Dolphins, In a Race For Relevance, Offer Hope At a Time We Need That / When Will Dolphins Unleash Tua? Exploring the Timetable as Rookies Report / Sports Resume, But Major Concerns Complicate Opening of Football Training Camps. And: He Made a Mistake, But Miami Knows Who Dwyane Wade Is And Knows It By Heart / Marlins Captain Miguel Rojas On Pandemic And Playoffs As Baseball Returns / Rest In Pieces, Redskins. Now Here Are Sports' Other Suspect Nicknames

HOT BUTTON TOP 10 (AUGUST 2-3): WHAT SOUTH FLORIDA SPORTS FANS ARE TALKING ABOUT: Our blog-exclusive Sunday-into-Monday feature is part week-in-review, part look-ahead. Hot Button means what's on our minds, locally and nationally, from a Miami perspective, as the sports week just past pivots to the week ahead. This week's HB10:

HButton1. HEAT: Miami wins season (re-)opener as NBA returns: NBA resumed with an eight-game regular season starting Thursday, and Heat (after going 1-2 in scrimmages) tipped off Saturday with an impressive 125-105 win over Denver in the Orlando bubble. Bam Adebayo, back from a bout with COVID-19, scored 22 for Miami as did Jimmy Butler. Next, Heat face Toronto Monday. Eight games each for the 22 teams still alive will determine playoff seedings.

2. MARLINS: Miami returns from virus-outbreak 'pause' Tuesday: Marlins went 2-1 in Philadelphia to open MLB's 60-game season on an upbeat. Then all hell broke loose. Miami's next seven games including the home opener were postponed when 20 members of the team including two coaches tested positive for COVID-19 -- putting all of MLB on high alert. Uninfected players remained in Philly and will bus to Baltimore to resume season on Tuesday, further delaying the already delayed home opener. Also: Team traded for lefty pitcher Richard Bleier, a local kid from South Plantation High (his story here in a 2016 column by me), and young 2B Isan Diaz opted out of the season.

3. MLB: Marlins-led mess has entire season wobbling: What began with the Marlins is spreading across the league, causing other games to postpone and some players to begin opting out. Remember MLB's plan for a Phoenix bubble where everybody would play to avoid travel? And how it was vilified as a crazy idea? Looking pretty damn good right about now. Play ball? 

4. DOLPHINS: Tua cleared for full activity as training camp ramps up: The good news? Rookie QB Tua Tagovailoa passed his physical and was OK'd for all activity (no surprise), and the Fins so far have had no players opt-out of the season. The bad news? Oft-injured CB Xavien Howard is on the physically-unable-to-perform list, and the team has reassembled IN A PANDEMIC! 

5. PANTHERS: Cats fall to Islanders in series Game 1 of NHL restart: Florida is down 1-0 in its five-game play-in series vs. the New York Islanders after a 2-1 Game 1 loss on Saturday in hockey's straight-to-playoffs resumption in the Toronto bubble. Isles were up two goals  before Jonathan Huberdeau scored in the third period. Game 2 is on Tuesday, with Cats now two losses away from seeing their season end short of advancing to the Stanley Cup tournament.

6. NFL: Sport hit hard by growing list of players opting out of season: The latest number is 37 players opting out of the 2020 season so far over coronavirus concerns, including seven Patriots, star linebacker Dont'a Hightower among them, and Jets star linebacker C.J. Mosley. More than half of all teams have been affected by the opt-outs. Miami has lucked out. So far.

7. HURRICANES: UM football opens full preseason camp this week amid uncertainty: Canes will open their full fall training camp this coming Friday. ACC's no-divisions schedule brings Notre Dame into league. UM will not play Irish but will play at Clemson (Uh oh). Canes hope their season will open on Sept. 12, with fans or no fans still to be determined. UM AD Blake James admitted the whole thing is "aspirational."

8. GOLF: This week's PGA Championship is year's first major: There'll be no fans but a stellar field in San Francisco for the first major of the virus-wracked golf. The logjam of betting favorites includes Bryson Dechambeau, Rory McIlroy, Justin Thomas, Jon Rahm and Brooks Koepka. Some guy named Tiger is playing, too. Starts Thursday.

9. INTER MIAMI: Expansion team preparing for August 22 restart of MLS season: As the MLS Is Back tournament moves toward its August 11 championship match, long-eliminated Inter Miami is preparing for a scheduled August 22 restart to the MLS regular season. An 18-game season is planned (9 home, 9 away), but the schedule is not yet announced. Inter Miami will resume play under pressure, its 0-5 start the league's worst ever for an expansion team.

10. SOCCER: Arsenal tops Chelsea for FA Cup crown: Arsenal rallied from an early hole to defeat Chelsea 2-1 in Saturday's FA Cup final at Wembley, one of the major trophies in European soccer. Chelsea found no luck, including young U.S. star Christian Pulisic (Chelsea's goal scorer) erased by a hamstring injury early in second half.

Missing the HB10 cut: Seattle Kraken. Sorry. Not growin' on me ..... Free agent Antonio Brown, looking for work at 32, is now suspended first eight games of NFL season for "multiple" violations of personal conduct policy. Teams still interested, line forms here. Plenty of spots available ..... Patrick Mahomes is now a part owner of the Kansas City Royals. Still, all that money could not buy Pat better than a No. 4 in NFL.com's Top 100 ranking ..... Woj is back! He's in the NBA bubble. I think I'd rather be suspended ..... Still hanging onto that nickname, Indians? I hear 'Cleveland Baseball Team' is  still  available ..... Delayed WNBA season is underway in Bradenton bubble ..... The Greg Cote Show podcast is out with new Episode 23 on Monday ..... Update: Countdown now 2,157 days (give or take) until Miami hosts its first match in soccer's 2026 World Cup. Full stadiums again by then?

Other recent columns: 'Redskins Is Racist Nickname Based On a Lie. Time For It to Disappear / Money Or Health? NFL and Major College Football Face A Decision / Tough Times All Around, But Rise Of Miami Sports Offers Hope / The Face Of Miami Sports in 2020: Our Top 20 And Who's No.1 / Time to Abort Season Restarts and Call Off Sports For Rest Of 2020 / Uh-oh. Cam Newton means Belichick and Patriots Are Back / Saving the National Anthem From Sporting-Event Extinction / Baseball Joins In With Restart Plan. But Is Sports Walking Into a Giant Mess?Noose Left For NASCAR's Bubba Wallace's Only Grows Resolve to End Racial Hatred / Team That Signs Kaepernick Will Be Champions Of the Street

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

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

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

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

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