Dolfan Satisfaction Meter: 55.2% after 31-21 loss at Buffalo -- another season high as pro-tanking crowd grows; plus Hot Button Top 10 (updated), Heat Opening Week, my Canes/Diaz column & more
1) It's TUESDAY OCTOBER 22. See previous blogpost for results of latest Canesfan Satisfaction Meter postgame poll. 2) Check out our 'Fins At 50' book at Amazon. 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Canes fall to Georgia Tech with my column and CSM poll & more. 4) Join us on Twitter.com/gregcote. Also on Facebook and Instagram.
Our Canes column on bad loss, Diaz's excuse: An awful home loss to 18-point underdog Georgia Tech, 28-21 in OT, dropped the Hurricanes to 3-4 Saturday, and coach Manny Diaz was suddenly talking about a "rebuild." No sale. Lousy excuse, Manny. For my column from the stadium, visit Diaz Playing 'Rebuild' Card As Weak as Canes' Effort in Loss to Ga-Tech. Also, voting continues online all day in the Canesfan Satisfaction Meter postgame poll.
My NFL Week 7 picks: Will the winless Dolphins cover the enormous point spread in Buffalo? Who'll prevail in our Game of the Week? Can we keep our Upset of the Week streak alive? Answers to all of that and more in the gridiron motherlode that is our NFL Week 7 Gems.
Other most recent columns: LeBron Follows Company Line On China After Career Devoted to Social Justice / No Sacrifice Too Great For Tanking-For-Tua Dolphins / Why Is NBA Doing Business With Human Rights-Violating China In First Place? / Now Or Never For Panthers To Stop Wasting The Barkov Years / and 'Culture' Isn't Enough. It'll Take These 5 Factors to Lift Miami Heat.
G6: BUFFALO 31, DOLPHINS 21: STILL WINLESS, BUT ... GOOD TRY?: Vote in our Dolfan Satisfaction Meter postgame poll. Original post: Cannot confirm but I hear the Dolphins didn't take a plane to Buffalo — they drove a tank. But, seriously: Winless tanking-suspect Miami switching from Josh Rosen back to Ryan Fitzpatrick is an indication that rookie coach Brian Flores is A) wishy-washy, or B) actually trying to win. (Maybe both?) Thing is, for Miami this year, trying to win and winning seem a world apart, and that's the case again today as 0-5 Fins visit 4-1 Buffs. Fitzbeardrick gives Miami a better shot today at 1, but it’s slight. Buffalo, off a bye, presents really strong defense to a Fins offense averaging fewer points per game (8.4) than any NFL team has averaged over a full season since 1977. The Beard will be under sack-attack all day. The upset hope — more likely the beating-point-spread hope — is that Miami’s D won’t be overwhelmed by a mediocre Buffs offense. Or that Bills QB Josh Allen (seven INTs, two lost fumbles) will charitably continue his proneness to turnovers. Dolphins have lost 17 of last 19 road games to teams with winning record, and that won’t change in Billsville. But I do lean to Miami covering a very big point spread for what should be a score-shy game. Cote’s pick: Buffalo, 23-10. Click NFL Week 7 Gems for all our latest picks. And watch for the new Dolfan Satisfaction Meter postgame poll right after today's game ends.
DOLFAN SATISFACTION METER: G6 55.2%: Results are certified in the latest of the Miami Herald’s Dolfan Satisfaction Meter postgame polls, and they show 55.2 percent overall approval -- the combination of "very" and "somewhat" satisfied votes -- in the wake of Sunday afternoon's 31-21 loss at Buffalo putting Miami’s season record at 0-6. That's another season high in an odd year in which DSM voting reflects the sizable influence of "Tanking for Tua" voters among Dolfans who would otherwise likely be very disappointed overall. In its 12th season, the DSM is a continuous weekly gauge of how Dolfans are feeling about the team and its direction. Right after each game I invite you to share your overall degree of satisfaction. Criteria for voting is your own, but I suggest fans consider the most recent game’s performance and caliber of opponent, season as a whole, direction the club is heading and your overall degree of optimism -- all in the context of reasonable expectations. Online voting determines the final result, which is final the morning after one full day of voting. In this case that will be around 8:30 a.m. today/Tuesday.
2019 DSM game-by-game results
G1: 18.3% following 59-10 loss vs. Baltimore.
G2: 24.6% following 43-0 loss vs. New England.
G3: 27.5% following 31-6 loss at Dallas.
G4: 35.3% following 30-10 loss vs. L.A. Chargers.
G5: 53.5% following 17-16 loss vs. Washington.
G6: 55.2% following 31-21 loss at Buffalo.
Next poll: Oct. 28 following game at Pittsburgh.
HOT BUTTON TOP 10 (UPDATED): 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:
1. HEAT: It's Opening Week for Miami's regular season: The Heat's 32nd NBA season, d.b.a. Year 1 of the Jimmy Butler era, opens Wednesday night at home vs. Memphis. That's after an encouraging preseason in which Miami was 4-0 with a plus-75 points differential before closing with a loss vs. Houston Friday night. Can the Butler do it? Front a playoff team? The cloud: Dion Waiters suspended for the opener for, essentially, pouting and childish behavior.
2. HURRICANES: Ugh. UM embarrassed in home to Ga-Tech: Manny Diaz had an excuse. He said after Miami's 28-21 OT loss to 18-point underdog Georgia Tech that this was a"rebuild" season. Uh oh. No sale. Lousy excuse. This team can't put away bad opponents and should be better than 3-4. Period.
3. DOLPHINS: Fins tease but stay winless in Buffalo: Miami was the NFL's biggest underdog this week (although by now that may go without saying), but gave it a decent shot in a 31-21 loss Sunday. Fins are 0-6 now but led much of Sunday's game. Alas, in the NFL, you get no points for "good try."
4. MLB: It's Nationals vs. Astros, and I'm World Serious: World Series Game 1 is tonight/Tuesday after Nationals swept Cardinals 4-0 and Astros eliminated Yankees 4-2 on last night's walkoff homer by tiny Jose Altuve. The Astros won the World Series in 2017. Washington last cheered a World Series champion (then the Senators) in 1924. If you aren't living in downtown Houston or related to an Astro, you'd better be rooting for the Nats.
5. INJURIES: Loss of Mahomes, Zion rocks two leagues: Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes, reigning NFL MVP, and Pelicans rookie Zion Williamson, NBA overall No. 1 draft pick, will miss several weeks with knee injuries. People immediately calling Zion the next Greg Oden: Chill, please.
6. NBA: LeBron drags himself into China mess: Lakers star LeBron James embroiled himself in NBA's China controversy by criticizing Rockets GM Daryl Morey, whose tweet in support of Hong Kong protests started this. James called Morey "misinformed." No. It's called "freedom of expression," LeBron.
7. PANTHERS: Cats back home after needed win: Panthers with a much-needed 3-2 shootout win in Nashville Saturday night are now 3-5 on the season with three OT losses. Cats are back home tonight/Tuesday vs. Pittsburgh looking to get on a run. Or a skate?
8. SOCCER: New-look MLS playoffs underway: The 14-team, three-week Major League Soccer playoffs got underway Saturday with a new single-elimination, win-or-done format. So the one-year countdown has begun to Inter Miami's first playoff game. Right, David Beckham?
9. INTER MIAMI: Getting close on coach, players: Miami's MLS expansion team set to begin play in 2020 plans to hire its first head coach by the end of October and begin adding players in November. This Thursday, Miami city commission takes (another!) vote related to team's Miami Freedom Park stadium plan. Games, please. Can't wait for spring!
10. NASCAR: Playoff field pares to eight: Sunday at Kansas, NASCAR's current 12-man playoff field pared to eight surviving drivers. The prize: A chance to win the season championship Nov,. 17 at Homestead in South Florida's final year hosting the grand finale.
Missing the HB10 cut: MLB is considering a plan that would eliminate 40 of its 160 minor-league teams. Fortunately, the Miami Marlins are thought to be safe ..... Update: Countdown now 2,436 days (give or take) until Miami hosts its first match in soccer's 2026 World Cup.
Previous select recent columns: Riley Introduces Butler -- 'Cause the Heat Don't Tank / Why Dolphins, Even Epic-Bad, May be Closer to Major Turnaround Than Canes / Turning Its Back on Kaepernick Enters Year 3 As NFL's Ongoing Shame / Worst Miami Team Ever? Epic Losing Already Making Dolphins A National Joke / Quit Whining! Yes Dolphins Are Tanking, And Yes They Should / Dolphins' Ross Cannot Be Surprised By Major Fallout Over Trump Fundraiser / Le Batard on Miami Radio Turmoil: 'We Were Evicted' / Buoniconti: Hall of Famer, But Even Greater Off the Field / It Is Megan Rapinoe's World Cup -- On And Off The Field / An Era Ends As Panthers' Luongo Retires / O.J. Can Tweet What He Wants, But How He's Seen Is Not Up To Him / Ranking Dolphins, Heat, Marlins & Panthers' Best Young Players / Inter Miami Aiming High With Barca's Suarez / End The Illogical Shame and Honor Schnellenberger / Oh To Be Hated Again! Lean Times For Miami Sports / Why Tiger's Masters Triumph Is About More Than Golf / Transgender-Athlete Firestorm A Necessary Debate / Across the Rio Grande to the PGA Tour / From Dark and Empty to Top Of the World: Dan Le Batard at 50.
APSE-HONORED WORK: The Associated Press Sports Editors 2018 writing awards ranked us a Top 10 national sports columnist in the major-outlet category. Thanks, APSE. Here are the five nominated columns that earned the honor: At Doral, an annual tradition since 1962 is replaced by silence, and by what's missing / Marlins' Jose Fernandez statue is divisive yet has a chance to serve a greater purpose /NFL has moral obligation to help Buonicontis and Kiicks while it limits future suffering / What led to El Clasico Miami began with Joe Robbie's unlikely, accidental love of soccer / With 59 home runs, Stanton still had a magic season. Just hope this wasn't goodbye.
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