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?

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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 17, 2020

G5: No. 13 Hurricanes handle Pitt, 31-19, behind King's 4 TD passes; plus NFL Week 6 picks: Dolphins-Stinkin' Jets and the rest; also, newest Greg Cote Show podcast featuring Uncle Dick, NFL Week 5 Pix 'n Fantasy results, recent columns & more

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

1) It's SATURDAY, OCTOBER 17. The Greg Cote Show podcast is now separately on Twitter and Instagram. Follow us on both! 2) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Heat fall as Lakers win NBA Finals, Dolphins crush Niners, Canes crushed at Clemson, Hot Button Top 10, Greg Cote Show podcast new Episode 32 & more. 3) Join us on Twitter and Instagram.

PitmiaG5: NO. 13 HURRICANES 31, PITT 19: KING's 4 TD THROWS, STRONG DEFENSE CARRY UM: I thought it would be a defense-first game that Pitt would cover as 13 1/2-point 'dogs. I was right as Miami  improved to 4-1 and Panthers fell to 3-3. Neither team could run and both struggled on third down. D'Eriq King was uneven and threw two picks but also had four TD throws including scoring strikes of 35, 38 and 45 yards. This result will satisfy if not wow the pollsters. Original post: No. 3 Georgia at No. 2 Alabama is of course the game most college football fans will be watching Saturday. Pittsburgh at No. 13 Miami is on the ACC Network, so even most Canes fans in South Florida who want to watch may not be able to because their carrier does not have the ACC channel. In any case, this is a danger game for UM. Warning lights are flashing. The point spread favoring Miami was bet up from 10 1/2 to 13 1/2. Hmm. Did bettors all over the Canes here not see The U obliterated 42-17 by Clemson last week? Do they not know Pitt is two 1-point losses from being 5-0? This noon start does not look like an easy one for Miami -- especially if Hurricanes are in any sort of letdown mode after playing No. 1 Clemson, or take Pitt's Panthers lightly in the least. Clemson was able to dismantle UM's running game and uptempo offense last week. Pitt is not Clemson, but the panthers' D is very good -- including a nation-leading 25 sacks. QB D'Eriq King will need his legs for escape purposes unless Miami's O-line proves better in this matchup than I think it is. Pitt's run defense also will be a challenge for Cam'Ron Harris as he tries to bounce back from being shut down by Clemson. Figure Miami's defense will arise to win this in what I see as a fairly low-scoring game and one closer than the betting line. No ACC divisions in this weird pandemic season, just one conference, so the two teams with the best conference records will make the championship game. With Clemson, North Carolina and Notre Dame all unbeaten and top-five nationally, it could be tough for somebody else to get in. Miami will have a shot if its ACC loss count stay at one. A second conference loss could be crippling. Makes this a must-win in every sense but the literal one. My pick: Hurricanes, 24-17. [My column off last week's game: Canes Not 'Back' Yet, As Clemson Emphatically Proves Again].

Other state FBS games today:

South Florida (1-3) at Temple (0-1), noon: Home-nesting Owls were 11-point faves and rallied to beat a down Bulls squad, 39-37.

UCF (2-1) at Memphis (1-1), 3:30: Knights, a 3-point betting pick, are 13-0 in series but past three very competitive.

No. 5 North Carolina (3-0) at Florida State (1-3), 7:30: Hard to see Heels ranked this high and 13-point faves. Then you recall how FSU got obliterated by Canes.

Off this week: FAU (1-0). COVID-related postponements: LSU (1-2) at No. 10 Florida (2-1); and FIU (0-2) at Charlotte (1-2).

PicksOUR NFL WEEK 6 PICKS: DOLPHINS-STINKIN' JETS AND ALL THE REST: Did you survive without a Thursday night game? Week 6 continues a season increasingly increasingly impacted by COVID, causing delayed and postponed games. It is why the Dolphins-Jets game Sunday was pushed back from 1 to 4. But our 30th season of NFL picks in the Miami Herald -- that's always reliably right on time, and we thank your for following along each week! Here are our Week 6 selections for Stinkin' Jets at Dolphins, for our Game of the Week, our Upset of the Week and all the rest of the 14-game slate. Hint on our big upset: An unbeaten teams falls. For all our latest game by game previews and picks visit NFL Week 6 Gems. Our picks appear Thursday afternoons every week online, and Fridays in print. (Thursday night picks appear Wednesdays online and Thursdays in print).

Coteshow MeandbroGREG 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. Dick and I are pictured, circa early '80s. Also, Greg and Chris 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!

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

Our 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.

Our 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.

PicksLoboslogoNFL PIX 'N FANTASY: WEEK 5 RESULTS: NFL Pix--Big finish saves the week: We finished a solid 10-4 overall and 7-7 against the spread in Week 5 -- thanks to a big finish in the three prime-time games that ended the schedule. Sunday night we bull's-eyed Seahawks winning but Vikings covering; Monday night we rightly had Saints winning but Chargers covering; and Tuesday night we nailed our Upset of the Week with Titans (+8 1/2) beating Bills outright. "Aaawwwk!" Also called Panthers' upset win in Atlanta, and had Dolphins with the points vs. San Fran. Glad you're with us on our 30th season of picks in the Herald. Greg's Lobos: Another big win in fantasy!: Lobos won again to improve to 3-2 in PFPI Fantasy, our friends 'n family 10-team PPR league. We won 112-99 thanks to 26 points from the Ravens defense and a big 25 from Emmanuel Sanders Monday night. The bad news: Dak Prescott. My big-scoring QB is out injured for the season, a huge loss. I've got Kirk Cousins in the wings but have made waiver claim for Matthew Stafford. We're a 1-point loss from being 4-1 despite also still missing our top draft pick. Michael Thomas. With Thomas' high production back and a little luck replacing Dak, we should be OK.

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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).

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!

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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).

October 10, 2020

G4: Hurricanes at Clemson: Tonight, we find out how good UM really is. Our preview and pick; plus Heat beat Lakers, get to Game 6 Sunday in NBA Finals. My column off huge win; also, Marlins eliminated, NFL Week 5 picks, new Greg Cote Show podcast & more

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

1) It's SATURDAY, OCTOBER 10. 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): Miami on the brink with Heat and Marlins both facing playoff elimination, NFL Week 4 Pix 'n Fantasy results, NFL Week 4 QB rankings, Bears-Bucs Thursday pick, Greg Cote Show podcast Episode 31 & more. 4) Join us on Twitter and Instagram.

HeatPLAYOFFS! HEAT WIN, SURVIVE FOR GAME 6 IN NBA FINALS!: Miami still trails 3-2 but is alive for Game 6 after beating the Lakers 111-108 Friday night in the best-of-7 NBA Finals. The Heat now still must win two games in a row starting Sunday night in the Orlando bubble. Our column off the huge Game 5 win: 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.

MiaclemG4: NO. 7 HURRICANES (3-0) AT NO. 1 CLEMSON (3-0): HERE COMES THE ULTIMATE MEASUREMENT OF UM: A perfunctory 31-14 home win over smaller UAB. A big 47-34 road triumph at ranked Louisville. A 52-10 home smothering of rival Florida State. Those results have Miami 3-0 and ranked No. 7 nationally this weird college season. Now, Saturday night at 7:30, for the first time, we really measure how good the Canes are, or aren't. And it happens on Qbsa major prime time, national stage on ABC. "At Clemson." The two scariest words in the sport these days. UM is really good, but the Tigers seem on a different planet. Clemson is a 14-point favorite and you almost wanna think, "That's all?" UM coach Manny Diaz rightly calls it, "A great opportunity for us to test ourselves." Essentially, Clemson is what the Canes used to be in the glory years, and what they strive to be again. "We've got to get our program where it's the same way," says Diaz. Expect an offensive show led by Heisman-candidate QBs in Trevor Lawrence and D'Eriq King. Two big running games as well led by Clemson's two-time ACC Player of the Year Travis Etienne and Miami's Cam'Ron Harris. Two top defenses here as well. They key for a Miami upset may be the pass rush and secondary bothering Lawrence, the Heisman favorite who has passed for 848 yards and seven touchdowns and ran for three TDs. He has thrown 314 straight passes without an interception, and it's hard to envision Miami winning without forcing at least one turnover. Miami feels like a bigger 'dog than two touchdowns partly because Clemson has won the past two meetings between the schools by a combined 96-3. Diaz, the second-year head coach, was Miami's defensive coordinator when the Canes got clobbered by Clemson 38-3 in the 2017 ACC Championship Game. How much have things changed? How much has Miami's program advanced? We find out tonight. My pick: Clemson, 30-23.

Other state FBS games today:

No. 4 Florida (2-0) at No. 21 Texas A&M (1-1), noon: Gators a 6 1/2-point road favorite but is UF over-ranked at No. 4? Saturday may tell.

Middle Tennessee (0-4) at FIU (0-1), 4: Panthers a 5-point fave in much-delayed home opener, but Butchers need be wary despite foe's record.

East Carolina (0-2) at South Florida (1-2), 7: Bulls are favored by 4 1/2 points in Tampa. 

Florida State (1-2) at No. 5 Notre Dame (2-0), 7:30: Irish a huge 21-point pick. But 'Noles can't be as Canes made 'em look (Can they?).  

Off this week: UCF (2-1). Postponed: FAU (1-0) at Southern Miss (1-3).

PicksOUR NFL WEEK 5 PICKS: DOLPHINS-49ERS AND ALL THE REST: Week 5 begins the second quarter of a season increasingly impacted by COVID. Last week one game had to be postponed and one delayed to Monday. This week one game is delayed to Monday and another to Tuesday. But our 30th season of NFL picks in the Miami Herald? Always on time! Not always right. But always punctual! Here are our Week 5 selections for Dolphins at 49ers, for our Game of the Week and Upset of the Week (they're one in the same) and for all the rest on the 15-game slate. For all our latest game by game previews and picks visit NFL Week 5 Gems. Our picks appear Thursday afternoons every week online, and Fridays in print. (Our Thursday night pick appears Wednesdays online and Thursdays in print). We lost to start Week 5. Thought Bucs would narrowly cover as 3 1/2-point faves, but they lost at Chicago on a late field goal 20-19. Tom Brady had a chance late but game expired on a fourth down play he thought was third down. Hey, Tom. One, two, three, four -- those are pretty small numbers to keep track of. The only time small numbers always seem to confuse me is when I have a six on that hole in golf and I sometimes mistakenly write five on the scorecard.

Coteshow GilGREG COTE SHOW PODCAST: BILLY GIL DROPS BY EPISODE 31, OUT NOW!: Our Miami Herald podcast, The Greg Cote Show With Greg Cote, debuted in March and the new Episode 31 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 31 we've done RIGHT HERE for free. Please listen, subscribe, rate and review. In new Ep31 we welcome in guest Billy Gil (pictured) from ESPN Radio's Le Batard Show to talk Miracle Marlins and other fun stuff. Also, Greg demands everyone please shut up about playing Tua now. A new Mount Gregmore, too -- the N's. Hear all that and more on the new Greg Cote Show podcast!

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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).

October 08, 2020

On the brink: Marlins try to stay alive today, Heat try to do the same Friday. Our 2 latest playoff columns; plus tonight's Bucs-Bears pick, Billy Gil drops by new Greg Cote Show podcast, NFL Week 4 Pix 'n Fantasy results and QB rankings & more

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

1) It's THURSDAY, OCTOBER 8. The Greg Cote Show podcast is now separately on Twitter and Instagram. Follow us on both! 2) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Hot Button Top 10, Dolphins fall to Seattle, Marlins reach NLDS, Heat shows life in NBA Finals, Greg Cote Show podcast new Episode 31 & more. 2) Join us on Twitter and Instagram.

Thursday night's Bucs-Bears pick: Will Tom Brady leave Soldier Field smiling? Answer here: Week 5 Thursday Gem.

It's the Russell 'n Dak Show at quarter mark of our NFL quarterback rankings: Peruse NFL Week 4 QB Rankings for the latest Top 20.

FishPlayoffs! Miracle Marlins down 2-0 in NLDS, face elimination today: Marlins and Braves continued best-of-5 NL Division Series in the Houston bubble Wednesday with a 2-0 Atlanta win on a pair of solo homers. Column off NLDS Game 2: Marlins Fall Again, Join Heat On Brink Of Elimination. Off Game 1: Braves Homers, Bullpen Collapse Bury Marlins in NLDS Game 1. Column of NLWC-clinching Game 2 vs. Cubs: Miracle Marlins Advance in NL Playoffs. Off Game 1: Seventeen Years Out of Playoffs, Marlins Return in Style.

HeatPlayoffs! Heat down 3-1 to Lakers, face elimination in NBA Finals: Miami hoped to get even Tuesday night but instead lost 102-96 to fall into a 3-1 hole in the best-of-7 NBA Finals. Game 5 is Friday night. Column off Game 4: Lakers in 3-1 Command in NBA Finals, But Don't Write Off Heat Yet. Column 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.

NFL PIX 'N FANTASY: WEEK 4 RESULTS: NFL Pix: Mad scramble for a decent week: Hardly boast-worthy, but we toughed out a 9-6 Week 4 record overall and went an even 7-7-1 against the Picks Loboslogospread (with Bucs' 7-point win a push for the tie). Missed on our Upset of the Week -- you gamble on Vegas, you lose -- but had a trio of 'dogs-with-points on covers by the Browns, Vikings and Eagles. Join us in our 30th season of picks in the Herald. (Our Tampa Bay-Chicago pick to kick off Week 5 will be online later today). Greg's Lobos: Big win in fantasy!: Lobos got even at 2-2 in our friends 'n family 10-team PPR league with a big, rollicking 143-126 win. How 'bout them Cowboys! Got 39 points from Dak Prescott and 34 from Amari Cooper. (They can keep losing as long as they keep producing like that). Four men carried the 'Bos as we also got 25 points from Chris Carson and 22 from Aaron Jones. We're a 1-point loss from being 3-1 despite missing our top draft pick. Come back soon, Michael Thomas! 

CoteshowBilly GilGREG COTE SHOW PODCAST: BILLY GIL DROPS BY NEW EPISODE 31, OUT NOW!: Our Miami Herald podcast, The Greg Cote Show With Greg Cote, debuted in March and new Episode 31 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 31 we've done RIGHT HERE for free. Please listen, subscribe, rate and review. In new Ep31 we welcome in guest Billy Gil (pictured) from ESPN Radio's Le Batard Show to talk Miracle Marlins and other fun stuff. Also, Greg demands everyone please shut up about Tua. A new Mount Gregmore, too -- the N'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).

October 05, 2020

Latest Hot Button Top 10 (updated): Fish fly into NLDS, Heat alive!, UM-Clemson on deck, Fins-Seattle jostle for top of marquee; plus new Greg Cote Show podcast out now & more

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

1) It's MONDAY, OCTOBER 5. The Greg Cote Show podcast is now separately on Twitter and Instagram. Follow us on both! 2) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Miracle Marlins advance to NLDS, depleted Heat fall to 0-2 in NBA Finals, Collball Saturday, Greg Cote Show podcast Episode 30 & more. 2) Join us on Twitter and Instagram.

FishPlayoffs! Miracle Marlins -- the 'Miami Bottom Feeders' -- advance to NLDS: Column off NLWC-clinching Game 2 win over Cubs: Miracle Marlins Advance in NL Playoffs. Column off Game 1: Seventeen Years Out of Playoffs, Marlins Return in Style. Game 1 of best-of-5 NLDS vs. Braves begins Tuesday in Houston.

HeatPlayoffs! They're alive! Butler leads Heat to Game 3 win over Lakers: Column off Sunday's had-to-have-it Game 3 win: Jimmy Butler Gives Heat New Life Vs. Lakers in NBA Finals. Column off Game 2: NBA Finals Slipping Away From Miami as Heat Lose Again. Column off Game 1: Riley Wants Heat to Beat LeBron So Bad, But Opening Loss a Reality Check. Game 3 of best-of-7 is Sunday night in Orlando bubble.

SeamiaG4: SEATTLE 31, @DOLPHINS 23: TWO TURNOVERS, TOO MUCH RUSS, BAD D SINK MIAMI: Original post: It’s a rare treat awaiting those brave Dolfans who venture through the pandemic to Hard Rock Stadium on Sunday. Hall of Fame-headed Russell Wilson is making only his second appearance here and first since his 2012 rookie season. And he arrives with 14 TD passes, a record through three games, and early MVP Fitz Russfront-runner status as the NFL season reaches its quarter mark. Chef Russ is one reason why King Sport has set a three-week record for most TDs (281) and points scored (2,446). Wilson looks unstoppable, all the more so Sunday with the Fins maybe missing CB Byron Jones (again). But here’s the thing. Ryan Fitzpatrick is just as well-armed for an airborne shootout, with Seattle’s pass defense allowing a gargantuan, absurd 430.7 yards per game. No wonder the over/under on total points is a fat 54. The number for combined passing yards might catapult over 600. Punters, take the day off. Defensive coordinators, cover your eyes. Miami comes in rested after playing last Thursday, while the Seahawks’ injury list is crowded. Then again, Seattle is on a 9-0 run playing in the Eastern time zone. I like Miami getting six points, but, did I mention Russell Wilson? Despite his own sieve of a pass defense, he has been way too good to not outscore the Dolphins. My pick: Seahawks (-6) over Dolphins, 34-30. Visit NFL Week 4 Gems to see this capsule online and for all of our other latest previews and picks.

HOT BUTTON TOP 10 (OCTOBER 4-5): 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: Miracle 'Miami Bottom Feeders' advance to NLDS!: As MLB postseason's division round begins today and Tuesday, the underdog Marlins, not expected to be anywhere near the playoffs, are calling themselves the 'Miami Bottom Feeders' in their first postseason in 17 years. They just swept the Cubs in the best-of-3 NLWC with Friday's Sixto Sanchez-fueled 2-0 win. Now they're on to the NLDS vs. the Braves in Houston. The best-of-5 series begins Tuesday. Fish are now 7-for-7 as a franchise in all-time playoff series. Amazin'!

2. HEAT: Butler's huge Game 3 gives Miami new life in NBA Finals: The 18- and 10-point losses and injuries to Bam Adebayo and Goran Dragic had Miami staring at a 3-0 hole. Jimmy Butler to the rescue! Butler's 40-point triple-double last night led a had-to-have-it 115-104 win to draw Miami within 2-1 entering Game 4 of the best-of-7 Tuesday night. Heat's first championship in 2006 happened after Miami trailed 2-0 in Finals. Can history repeat?

3. DOLPHINS: Russell Wilson lifts Seattle over host Miami: Fins dominated Jacksonville last Thursday but even with extra time to prepare were six-point home 'dogs to unbeaten Seattle and Russell Wilson, whose 14 TD passes in three games were the most ever. Well, Russ threw for 360 yards Sunday to beat the Fins 31-23. Too much Russ, two Ryan Fitzpatrick picks, too many red-zone fizzles and field goal-settling and bad D late spelled the result.

4. HURRICANES: Countdown: 5 days 'til UM visits Clemson. Uh oh: Miami is ranked No. 7 and 3-0 after crushing FSU last Thursday. Clemson is No. 1 and 3-0 after routing Virginia Saturday night. So where's the "uh oh" come in? Canes don't have a great track record recently with extra time to prepare. And UM has dropped its past two games against Clemson by 38-3 (2017 ACC Championship Game) and 58-0 (2015). New team, new time? We'll see.

5. NFL: Two Week 4 games disrupted by COVID test-positives: Sunday's Pittsburgh at Tennessee game was postponed to October 25 after several Titans players tested positive for COVID-19. Saturday it was reported Patriots QB Cam Newton has tested positive and will miss this week's Chiefs. A test positive on both teams will delay that game to Monday or Tuesday, said the NFL. The virus caused the preseason to be canceled and has resulted in home stadiums with no fans or a limited number, but this, in Week 4, is the first disruption of the regular season schedule.

6. TENNIS: Nadal on track in French Open; Halep, Serena out: Favorite Rafael Nadal is on track at the major's midpoint in Paris. The big news: On the women's side, favorite Simona Halep was ousted Saturday, routed by little known Iga Swiatek, 19, of Poland, and Serena Williams earlier was knocked out by an Achilles injury and said she's likely done for the year. The question of Serena is, at age 39, her last major win in 2017, could done for the year mean done for the career?

7. INTER MIAMI: Higuain has assist but expansion team falls again: Inter Miami 3-10-2 after a 3-2 home loss Saturday night to New York City FC. Lewis Morgan scored both of Miami's goals. The rookie team is a respectable 3-5-2 since an 0-5 start. New star Gonzalo Higuain, the Argentine forward, still is looking for his first MLS goal two matches in, but had an assist Saturday. In his eventful Miami debut he'd missed a penalty kick and sent a bicycle-kick shot off the post. Miami's next match is Wednesday at New York Red Bulls.  

8. PANTHERS: NHL Draft this week will be first for new Florida GM: The NHL Draft, to be held virtually, is Tuesday (first round) and Wednesday (two through seven), and it'll be the first for new Florida general manager Bill Zito. Panthers likely would prefer to target a defenseman with top pick, but if none is deemed worthy of the 12th overall selection they may go for a scorer. Right wing Jack Quinn of Ottawa in the OHL has been mentioned for the Cats in mocks.

9. HORSE RACING: Surprise in Preakness Stakes ends Triple Crown season: Kentucky Derby winner Authentic at 9-5 was favored to win Saturday's Preakness Stakes but was beaten out by unheralded Swiss Skydiver in the last race of a Triple Crown turned upside down by the pandemic. Belmont winner Tiz the Law did not run at Pimlico. Swiss Skydiver is only the sixth filly and first since 2009 to win the Preakness.

10. WNBA: Bird has Seattle flying in WNBA Finals: Seattle Storm lead Las Vegas Aces 2-0 and can close out the best-of-5 Finals Tuesday night, after Sunday's win. Seattle, led by Breanna Stewart and especially Sue Bird, seeks its fourth league title. Vegas, led by 2020 league MVP A'ja Wilson, is after its first.

Missing the HB10 cut: UEFA Champions League begins group-stage play October 20. Notable from the draw: Megastars Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo will square off in UCL group play for first time, with Barcelona and Juventus both drawn into Group G ..... No. 3 Florida Gators handled South Carolina 38-24 Saturday. 4-Georgia beat 7-Auburn. Most-notable other Top 25 losses were by 9-Texas and 11-UCF ..... Doc Rivers didn't have time to collect an unemployment check. The fired L.A. Clippers coach signed a five-year deal with the Philadelphia 76ers ..... NASCAR playoffs continue at Talladega Sunday. Meantime the sport promised major changes in its 2021 schedule and delivered, announcing six road courses, new stops in Austin and Nashville, and NASCAR's first dirt race in the Cup Series since 1970 ..... The San Diego Loyal soccer club, leading 3-1, walked off field and forfeited its USL Championship match vs. Phoenix Rising to protest a homophobic slur directed at openly gay Loyal player Collin Martin. Hmm. Seems like beating the homophobe's team might have been its own statement, no? ..... Tampa Bay Lightning celebrated their second Stanley Cup with a boat parade and ceremony at Raymond James Stadium with a capped attendance of 16,000 fans ..... R.I.P., Bob Gibson ..... The Greg Cote Show podcast's new Episode 31 drops Monday! ..... Update: Countdown now 2,094 days (give or take) until Miami hosts its first match in soccer's 2026 World Cup. Hope stadiums will be full again by then.

CoteshowGREG COTE SHOW PODCAST: NEW EPISODE 31 OUT NOW!: Our Miami Herald podcast, The Greg Cote Show With Greg Cote, debuted in March and new Episode 31 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 31 we've done RIGHT HERE for free. Please listen, subscribe, rate and review. In new Ep31 we welcome in guest Billy Gil from the Le Batard Show to talk Miracle Marlins and other fun stuff. New Mount Gregmore, too -- the N'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).

October 03, 2020

Playoffs! Miracle Marlins advance to NLDS, but depleted Heat fall to 0-2 in NBA Finals. Our 2 new columns!; plus Collball Saturday, NFL Week 4 picks, latest Greg Cote Show podcast & more

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

1) It's SATURDAY, OCTOBER 3. The Greg Cote Show podcast is now separately on Twitter and Instagram. Follow us on both! 2) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): NFL Week 4 picks, Heat lose NBA Finals opener, Marlins win playoff opener, Greg Cote Show podcast Episode 30 & more. 2) Join us on Twitter and Instagram.

NFL Week 4 picks: Our selections for Seahawks-Dolphins, Game of the Week, Upset of the Week and all the rest. We went 10-6 against the betting line last week and want to keep that roll going. For all our latest previews and picks visit NFL Week 4 Gems. Also: NFL Week 3 QB Rankings.

CoteshowGREG COTE SHOW PODCAST: SPECIAL EPISODE 30 -- 'BEING IZZY' -- OUT NOW!: Our Miami Herald podcast, "The Greg Cote Show With Greg Cote," debuted in March and new Episode 30 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 30 we've done RIGHT HERE for free. Please listen, subscribe, rate and review. (Start on Episode 1 and catch up!) In Ep30 we welcome back special guest Izzy Gutierrez of ESPN. Last week we talked sports and silly stuff. This week -- very different. 'Being Izzy' marks fifth anniversary of his coming out as gay, and Izzy talks about his life since, including the heartache and a very recent loss. It's emotional and a must-hear. There's a new Mount Gregmore, too -- the M's. Hear all that and more on the new Greg Cote Show podcast!

PLAYOFFS: MIRACLE MARLINS ADVANCE TO NLDS, DEPLETED HEAT FALL AGAIN IN NBA FINALS

SixtoMIRACLE MARLINS -- THE 'MIAMIBOTTOM FEEDERS' -- ADVANCE IN NL PLAYOFFS: [Fish beat Cubs 2-0 Friday to sweep best-of-3 NLWC over Cubs; open NLDS vs. Braves on Tuesday]: The T-shirts convey the disrespect that surrounded these Miami Marlins entering this strangest of baseball seasons and has fueled them throughout it. MIAMI BOTTOM-FEEDERS, the shirts proclaim. The Marlins wore them during batting practice Friday. That was just before they swept their playoff series at Wrigley Field to advance to next week’s National League Division Series against the waiting Atlanta Braves. Do you respect the Marlins yet, America? The Chicago Cubs do. Miami beat the Cubs 2-0 on Friday, led by Sixto Sanchez’s (pictured) five shutout innings and Garrett Cooper’s scoreless-tie-busting solo home run in the seventh inning. They won as they had Wednesday in a 5-1 win sparked by Sandy Alacantara’s strong outing and a pair of homers. The sweep in the best-of-3 NL Wild Card series sends Miami on to the NLDS in the club’s first postseason in 17 years. And keeps alive the franchise’s improbable perfect record in the playoffs. For our fullcolumn off Game 2 including how that 'Bottom Feeders' nickname arose, visit Miracle Marlins Advance in NL Playoffs. Column off Game 1: Seventeen Years Out of Playoffs, Marlins Return in Style.

JbutNBA FINALS SLIPPING AWAY FROM MIAMI AS DEPLETED HEAT FALLAGAIN TO LAKERS: [Heat fall to Lakers 124-114 Friday night to now trail 2-0in NBA Finals. Game 3 is Sunday]: They had to call upon it all and have it all, the Miami Heat did Friday night. Everything available, tangible to magic. All of the ingenuity that makes Erik Spoelstra such a respected basketball coach. All the power entailed in the mystery of “Heat culture.” The whole idea Miami was built for the bubble. The underdog magic. The notion of the Jimmy Butler-led Heat being kissed by kismet. Whatever mystical vibes the godfather Pat Riley could send along. Heck, the Heat would have taken a sudden, surprise comeback from Dwyane Wade Friday night. A menacing scowl sent virtually by Alonzo Mourning. Anything. The Heat needed all of it to somehow avoid falling down into the desolation of a 2-0 NBA Finals hole to the Los Angeles Lakers. Had to have it. Didn’t get it. A Miami team that got blown out by 18 points in a Game 1 it entered at full strength seemed to have little chance in Friday’s Game 2 — not with star Bam Adebayo sidelined by a neck sprain and starting spark Goran Dragic erased by a left foot injury. This was Miami, missing two starters — missing 34 percent of its playoff scoring punch. Against LeBron James and Anthony Davis, et al. It felt like dire straits for the underdogs. It was. It turned into a 124-114 Heat loss to the Lakers that leaves Miami at very long odds now historically, realistically and otherwise to still make this a long series, let alone one that can perhaps still be won. For our full column off Miami's Game 2 loss, visit NBA Finals Slipping Away From Miami as Heat Lose Again. Column off Game 1: Riley Wants Heat to Beat LeBron So Bad, But Opening Loss a Reality Check.

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.

COLLBALL SATURDAY: HURRICANES 7 DAYS 'TIL CLEMSON: Miami is 3-0 and up to No. 8 in the polls after that 52-10 spanking of rival Florida State. But how  good are the Canes? Wait a week to find out. Next Saturday, at No. 1 Clemson, UM's ACC nemesis, will tell it all, for better or worse.

State FBS games today:

South Carolina (0-1) at No. 3 Florida (1-0), noon -- Gators, dreaming College Football Playoff, can't afford Swamp stumble vs. 18 1/2-point underdog 'Cocks.

South Florida (1-1) at No. 15 Cincinnati (2-0), 3:30 Bulls a 21-point road 'dog.

Charlotte (0-1) at FAU (0-0), 4 -- Finally! Late-starting Owls are 7-point faves in their home and season opener.

Jacksonville State (0-0) at Florida State (0-2), 4 -- Off the board, but expect 'Noles to take out frustrations and roll big.

Tulsa (0-1) at No. 11 UCF (2-0), 7:30 -- Knights looking to move up into top 10 as 21 1/2-point faves.

Off this week: No. 8 Miami (3-0) and FIU (0-1).

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THE ARCHIVES:

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 most 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).

October 02, 2020

Our NFL Week 4 pix for Dolphins-Seahawks, all the rest; plus Marlins try to advance in playoffs today, Heat try to get even tonight; also, Greg Cote Show podcast special new episode ('Being Izzy') out now & more

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

1) It's FRIDAY, OCTOBER 2. Welcome October. 2020: Just right for Halloween. Everyone's wearing a mask. 2) The Greg Cote Show podcast is now separately on Twitter and Instagram. Follow us on both! 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Marlins a sports miracle for the ages, NFL Week 3 Pix 'n Fantasy results and QB Rankings, Greg Cote Show podcast new Episode 30 & more. 4) Join us on Twitter and Instagram.

Herald NFL Week 3 QB Rankings: Mahomes wins week, Wilson still No. 1, Fitzpatrick crashes Top 20: NFL Week 3 QB Rankings.

CoteshowGREG COTE SHOW PODCAST: SPECIAL NEW EPISODE 30 -- 'BEING IZZY' -- OUT NOW!: Our Miami Herald podcast, "The Greg Cote Show With Greg Cote," debuted in March and new Episode 30 is out now! A new episode drops early every Monday morning on Apple, Spotify, Google, Stitcher, Megaphone, iHeart -- wherever you pod, and of course at MiamiHerald.com. Find all 30 we've done so far RIGHT HERE for free. Please listen, subscribe, rate and review. (Start on Episode 1 and catch up!) In new Ep30 we welcome back special guest Izzy Gutierrez of ESPN for Iz 2.0. Last week we talked sports and silly stuff. This week -- very different. 'Being Izzy' marks the fifth anniversary of his coming out publicly as gay, and Izzy talks about his life since, including the heartache and a very recent loss. It's emotional, and a must-hear. Of course there's a new Mount Gregmore, too -- the M's. Hear all of that and more on the new Greg Cote Show podcast now!

PicksOUR NFL WEEK 4 PICKS: DOLPHINS-SEAHAWKS AND ALL THE REST: Week 4 brings us to the quarter mark of our 30th season of NFL picks in the Miami Herald. Here are our selections for Seahawks at Dolphins, for our Game of the Week -- Patriots at Chiefs -- for our Upset of the Week ("Aawwk!") and all of the rest. We pick only one outright upset this week (it's in the AFC East), but have a big six underdogs covering the spread. We went 10-6 against the betting line last week and want to keep that roll going. For all our latest game by game previews and picks visit NFL Week 4 Gems. Our picks appear Thursday afternoons every week online, and Fridays in print. (Our Thursday night pick appears Wednesdays online and Thursdays in print). We blew our start to Week 3, alas. The lesson there: Never again, under any circumstances, pick the Jets to win. Moving forward, they could be on a bye week and I'm still picking them to lose.

Heatg1RILEY WANTS TO BEAT LEBRON SO BAD, BUT HEAT GAME 1 LOSS A REALITY CHECK: [Off Game 1 of NBA Finals / Lakers 116, Heat 98 / Game 2 tonight]: Oh, you know he wants this, the godfather does. In a Hall of Fame life given to basketball that has included nine championship rings as player, coach or executive, this NBA Finals sets up as Pat Riley’s career opus, his crowning achievement. He might even admit it someday. His Miami Heat vs. the Los Angeles Lakers — the team he put into the stratosphere with “Showtime,” the team now run by LeBron James — is on so many levels the series Riley, 75, needs to win more than any other. It isn’t about his legacy. That is set and secure. No, this is personal. The road to Riley’s ultimate satisfaction grew longer Wednesday night. Steeper. Heat star Jimmy Butler had insisted he didn’t consider Miami to be the underdog in this series. May be time to recalibrate that estimation? The Lakers handled Miami in Finals Game 1 116-98 in the Orlando bubble, putting an instant burden on the Heat entering Friday night’s Game 2 of the best-of-7 series. It had been almost a full calendar year — 345 days — since this basketball season began. Finally, we have an NBA Finals. For our full column off Game 1, visit Riley Wants Heat to Beat LeBron So Bad, But Opening Loss a Reality Check.

Fishg1SEVENTEEN YEARS LATER, MARLINS RALLY AND POWER TO GAME 1 WIN: [Off Game 1 of NLWC / Marlins 5, Cubs 1 / Game 2 today]: Seventeen years to get back here felt worth the wait for the Miami Marlins on Wednesday afternoon. Except for the fake, piped-in noise Wrigley Field in Chicago was empty and pandemic quiet. Not in the top of the seventh inning, though. What you heard then, all you heard, was joy erupting from the Marlins’ dugout as Corey Dickerson’s shot to left-center field carried 384 feet, over the Cubs, over the ivy wall. And again a couple of minutes later when Jesus Aguilar’s 366-foot drive to right would leave the field, too. Dickerson’s three-run home run and Aguilar’s homer with one man on accounted for all of Miami’s runs in a 5-1 comeback win in Game 1 of this NL Wild Card best-of-3 series. Pitcher Sandy Alcantara? He turned a start into a polished gem, working into the seventh inning and touched only for Ian Happ’s solo home run. Three relievers closed it out efficiently. Strong starting pitching and clutch hitting — it has been the Fish formula all year. The only sour note for Miami: Center fielder Starling Marte, maybe the Marlins’ best hitter, was hit in the left hand by a pitch in the ninth inning, calling into question his availability the rest of this week. Miami didn’t even need any help from Steve Bartman this time. For our full column off Game 1, visit Seventeen Years Out of Playoffs, Marlins Return in Style.

Other most recent columns:

Marlins: COVID-Decimated and 30,000-to-1 Odds, Miami Marlins Are a Sports Miracle For the Ages

Hurricanes: Canes Score Biggest Rout Of FSU in 44 Years. Soon, We Find Out How Good UM Really Is.

Heat: Heat Wins East, Reaches NBA Finals Vs. LeBron.

Dolphins: We All Want Dolphins to Unveil Tua, But Appreciate the Ryan Fitzpatrick We Just Saw.

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

THE ARCHIVES:

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 most 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).

September 30, 2020

Playoff Wednesday: Marlins, Heat both in action; plus 'Being Izzy,' the Greg Cote Show podcast's revealing new episode, out now!; also, Marlins a sports miracle for the ages. New column, NFL Week 3 Pix 'n Fantasy results, QB Rankings & more

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

1) It's WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 30. Farewell, September. Well aren't you ending with bang! 2) The Greg Cote Show podcast is now separately on Twitter and Instagram. Follow us on both! 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Hot Button Top 10 with Heat in Finals vs. LeBron, Marlins in playoffs, and Canes and Fins' big wins, plus Greg Cote Show podcast new Episode 30 & more. 4) Join us on Twitter and Instagram.

PLAYOFF WEDNESDAY!: Marlins at Cubs in NLWC Game 1, 2 p.m. Heat vs. Lakers in NBA Finals Game 1, 9 p.m.

Herald NFL Week 3 QB Rankings: Mahomes wins week, Wilson still No. 1, Fitzpatrick crashes Top 20: NFL Week 3 QB Rankings.

CoteshowGREG COTE SHOW PODCAST: NEW EPISODE 30 -- 'BEING IZZY' -- OUT NOW!: Our Miami Herald podcast, "The Greg Cote Show With Greg Cote," debuted in March and new Episode 30 is out now! A new episode drops early every Monday morning on Apple, Spotify, Google, Stitcher, Megaphone, iHeart -- wherever you pod, and of course at MiamiHerald.com. Find all 30 we've done so far RIGHT HERE for free. Please listen, subscribe, rate and review. (Start on Episode 1 and catch up!) In new Ep30 we welcome back special guest Izzy Gutierrez of ESPN for Iz 2.0. Last week we talked sports and silly stuff. This week -- very different. 'Being Izzy' marks the fifth anniversary of his coming out publicly as gay, and Izzy talks about his life since, including the heartache and a very recent loss. It's emotional, and a must-hear. Of course there's a new Mount Gregmore, too -- the M's. Hear all of that and more on the new Greg Cote Show podcast now!

FishCOVID-DECIMATED AND 30,000-TO-1 ODDS, MIAMI MARLINS ARE A SPORTS MIRACLE FOR THE AGES: We have reached a notable touchstone in South Florida professional sports history when the Miami Heat reaching the NBA Finals, one season after not even making the playoffs, is not the most remarkable story in town. Or even close to it. The Miami Marlins are the impossible dream come true, the feel-good sports story of surreal, pandemic 2020 — the new standard for “No way! You’re kidding. Seriously!?” You want an example for the ages that anything really is possible. We have the new one, and if any team can top this, have at it. The Marlins lost 105 games last season, the most in the National League. They began this truncated MLB season in the deep throes of a ground-up rebuild after trading stars for prospects. Their preseason odds to win the World Series were 30,000-to-1, dead last. Oh, and when play finally started in July, the Marlins were embarrassed to have so many players test positive for COVID-19 that eight games in a row had to be postponed, so decimated was the roster. This is the interloper in the postseason. Must be magic. Call ‘em the Merlins! Miami’s best-of-3 series at the Chicago Cubs starts Wednesday. For our full latest column, please visit COVID-Decimated and 30,000-to-1 Odds, Miami Marlins Are a Sports Miracle For the Ages

Column from Hurricanes' crushing of rival Florida State: Canes Score Biggest Rout Of FSU in 44 Years. Soon, We Find Out How Good UM Really Is.

Column on Heat reaching NBA Finals: Heat Wins East, Reaches NBA Finals Vs. LeBron. Also: Off Game 5--Heat Lose, Still Lead 3-2. The Prize? An NBA Finals Date With LeBron. G4--Conquering Herro! Rookie's 37 Has Heat 1 Win From NBA Finals. G3--The Fun Starts Now As Heat's Joy-Ride Postseason Finally Hit a Bump. G2--Miracle Or Magic, Miami Heat's Stunning Postseason Run Continues. G1--Unexpected Playoff Run Makes Miami Heat the Most Fun Ride In Sports Right Now].

Column on Dolphins' win at Jax: We All Want Dolphins to Unveil Tua, But Appreciate the Ryan Fitzpatrick We Just Saw. Also: Off Game 2--Power Outage, Lightning Delay, No Pass Defense As Dolphins Drop Home Opener to BillsOff G1--Dolphins Lose to Pats, But Win With No-Hurry Plan On Tua.

Picks LoboslogoNFL PIX 'N FANTASY: WEEK 3 RESULTS: NFL Pix: Solid vs. spread. Stumbled in at 8-7-1 straight-up for Week 3, with bad luck on at least four of our winners blowing fourth-quarter leads. Much better against the spread at 10-6, including Packers over Saints in our Upset of the Week ("Aawwk!"), and three 'dogs-with-points (Vikings, Bengals, Panthers). Join us in our 30th season of picks in the Herald. Greg's Lobos: Heartbreak loss: Lobos fell to 1-2 in our friends 'n family 10-team PPR league with a tough-to-take 103-102 loss. Win was ours for the taking but my Baltimore defense laid an egg Monday night, with two points. Dak Prescott's team-high 28 points went for naught. Really missing our injured top draft pick, Michael Thomas.

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THE ARCHIVES:

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-PANDEMIC TEAM RANKINGS  /  and FOR MIAMI & AMERICA, HERE COMES A COLLEGE FOOTBALL SEASON WE'LL NEVER FORGET

Select other most 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).

September 28, 2020

Latest Hot Button Top 10 (updated): History! 4-way tie for 1st: Marlins in playoffs, Heat in Finals vs. LeBron, UM crushes FSU, Fins crush Jax; plus our Six Pack 'O Takeaways from Canes-Noles, Greg Cote Show podcast new Episode 30 out now & more

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

1) It's MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 28. If you missed who won the week, who leads the early season Top 20 and where Fins' Ryan Fitzpatrick lands, check out our NFL Week 2 QB Rankings2) The Greg Cote Show podcast is now separately on Twitter and Instagram. Follow us on both! 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Dolphins crush Jacksonville, Greg Cote Show podcast Episode 29 & more. 4) Join us on Twitter and Instagram.

Our latest NFL picks: NFL Week 3 Gems.

HEAT IN FINALS VS. LEBRON!: For my column off last night's Game 6 win that catapulted Miami into the NBA Finals, visit Heat Wins East, Reaches NBA Finals Vs. LeBron. Off Game 5: Heat Lose, Still Lead 3-2. The Prize? An NBA Finals Date With LeBron. Game 4: Conquering Herro! Rookie's 37 Has Heat 1 Win From NBA Finals. G3: The Fun Starts Now As Heat's Joy-Ride Postseason Finally Hit a Bump. G2: Miracle Or Magic, Miami Heat's Stunning Postseason Run Continues. G1: Unexpected Playoff Run Makes Miami Heat the Most Fun Ride In Sports Right Now].

Newest Dolphins columns: Off Thursday night's big win in Jacksonville: We All Want Dolphins to Unveil Tua, But Appreciate the Ryan Fitzpatrick We Just Saw. Off Game 2: Power Outage, Lightning Delay, No Pass Defense As Dolphins Drop Home Opener to Bills. Off Game 1: Dolphins Lose to Pats, But Win With No-Hurry Plan On Tua.

SixpackCANES 52, FSU 10: OUR SIX PACK 'O TAKEAWAYS: For our column from last night's UM win, visit Canes Score Biggest Rout Of FSU in 44 Years. Soon, We Find Out How Good UM Really Is. Six Pack 'O Takeaways: 1. King D'Eriq. Transfer D'Eriq King continues his excellent play and is nominating himself as UM's best QB since Ken Dorsey closed out the glory years. 2. Putting the No in Noles. After losing seven in a row to its state and ACC rival, Miami has now beaten FSU four straight times. 3. Kickin' It. After the field goal and extra point nightmare that contributed to 2019's 6-7 record, transfer kicker Jose Borregales has been a godsend. 4. Monster D. Six sacks, seven hurries 13 tackles for loss. Canes defense had its way. P.S., Noles QB James Blackman? Not very good. 5. Discipline. Miami needs more of it. Two defensive ejections last night, too many penalties. Against better foes, those things can beat you. 6. Next, please. As the gist of my game column stressed, UM's 3-0 start gets its ultimate test at No.1 Clemson on October 10. Are the Canes teasing us again? Soon we find out.

HOT BUTTON TOP 10 (SEPTEMBER 27-28): 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:

HButton

1. MARLINS: Miracle Fish make playoffs for first time in 17 years!: They did it. One year after losing 105 games, in a pandemic season that began with much of the team COVID-positive, the Marlins somehow made the playoffs for the first time since 2003. It'll be a best-of-three vs. Cubs to follow the 60-game season. Amazin'!

1. HEAT: Miami wins East to get to LeBron and Lakers: Heat beat Boston last nibght for a 4-2 series and an NBA Finals berth vs. old friend LeBron James and the L.A. Lakers. 

1. HURRICANES: UM crushes rival FSU, heads for top 10: Miami's 52-10 rout of Florida State last night at Hard Rock was the biggest in the series since 1976. The 3-0 Canes now have leaped to No. 8 (from 12) after two teams above UM lost Saturday. But is The U really that good? We all find out October 10 at Clemson.

1. DOLPHINS: Miami crushes it in Jax. Who are these guys!?: A Dolphins team we hadn't seen the first two games showed up and crushed host Jacksonville 31-13 Thursday night. Ryan Fitzpatrick was 18-for-20 with two TDs passing and one running. The defense dominated. It was a night when Miami's improvement and potential showed itself, and rather gloriously at that!   

5. INTER MIAMI: Expansion team back in action, falls in Philly: Miami returned to the pitch on the road Sunday night vs. a strong Philadelphia Union squad and lost 3-0. Despite two straight lopsided losses, Inter Miami since an 0-5 start has won three and drawn two of its past nine matches. Miami now has with it recently signed Gonzalo Higuain, the former Juventus striker.

6. NHL: Stanley Cup Final Game 6 is Monday: Tampa Bay leads Dallas 3-2 after the Stars staved off elimination Saturday night. The Lightning will win it all, or be forced to a Game 7, on Monday night. 

7. COLLEGE FOOTBALL: Weak! Pac-12 follows Big Ten back into play: Two of the Power 5 conferences, the Big Ten and Pac-12, said they would not play in 2020 over COVID-19 concerns. Then the weak Big Ten caved and agreed to begin play in late October. Now the weak Pac-12 has caved and said it will play a seven-game schedule starting in November. Sad.

8. NASCAR: Michael Jordan buys into race team: With NASCAR in the midst of its playoffs, Michael Jordan has become a team owner for next season. The basketball legend has teamed up with NASCAR star Denny Hamlin -- currently second in the playoff standings with seven races left -- and with Bubba Wallace, the Black driver whose fight led to the sport banning Confederate flags from its tracks.

9. PANTHERS: Florida NHL club signals win-now mode with trade: New Panthers general manager Bill Zito swung a trade acquiring veteran forward Patric Hornqvist from Pittsburgh in exchange for defenseman Mike Matheson and forward Colton Sceviour. Hornqvist, 33, appeared in 52 games with the Penguins this season scoring 17 goals with 15 assists.

10. WNBA: Seattle, Connecticut can advance to Finals Sunday: The Seattle Storm beat the Minnesota Lynx on Sunday for a 3-0 series win and a spot in the WNBA Finals. The Connecticut Sun and Las Vegas Aces are tied 2-2 in their semifinal in the Bradenton bubble heading into a deciding Game 5 on Tuesday.

Missing the HB10 cut: The majors keep a-comin'! Next: Tennis' French Open starts Sunday. Rafael Nadal has won a record 12 French Opens and is the strong betting favorite to make it 13, with Novak Djokovic the second pick. Simona Halep is a less-sure favorite on women's side, with Serena Williams a distant fourth ..... Conor McGregor says he'll fight Manny Pacquiao. Oh lord! ..... The Greg Cote Show podcast's new Episode 30 is out now! ..... Update: Countdown now 2,101 days (give or take) until Miami hosts its first match in soccer's 2026 World Cup. Hopefully we'll have crowds in stadiums again by then?

CoteshowGREG COTE SHOW PODCAST: NEW EPISODE 30 OUT NOW!: Our Miami Herald podcast, "The Greg Cote Show With Greg Cote," debuted in March and new Episode 30 is out now! A new episode drops early every Monday morning on Apple, Spotify, Google, Stitcher, Megaphone, iHeart -- wherever you pod, and of course at MiamiHerald.com. Find all 30 we've done so far RIGHT HERE for free. Please listen, subscribe, rate and review. (Start on Episode 1 and catch up!) In new Ep30 we welcome back special guest Izzy Gutierrez of ESPN for Iz 2.0. Last week we talked sports and silly stuff. This week -- vey different. On the fifth anniversary of his coming out publicly as gay, Izzy talks about his life since, including the heartache and a very recent loss. It's emotional, and a must-hear. Of course there's a new Mount Gregmore, too -- the M's. Hear all of that and more on the new Greg Cote Show podcast now!

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THE ARCHIVES:

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-PANDEMIC TEAM RANKINGS  /  and FOR MIAMI & AMERICA, HERE COMES A COLLEGE FOOTBALL SEASON WE'LL NEVER FORGET

Select other most 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).