November 18, 2018

Latest Hot Button Top 10: LeBron torches Heat (with new column), Logano wins NASCAR; plus how satisfied are you with the Hurricanes? Postgame poll. Last chance to vote after 38-14 win makes UM bowl-eligible; also, other state Collball (FIU wins) & more

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

1) It's SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 18. Visit Greg Cote Friday for the podcast from our latest co-host spot on the LeBatard Show on ESPN Radio. 2) Football is raging and the holidays are upon us. That means it's the perfect time to delight Dolfans you know with the gift of our 'Fins At 50' book. Check it out on Amazon. 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): NFL Week 11 picks, your Gase/Richt verdicts, Marlins' new logo, Hassan Whiteside's gun & more. 4) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook and Instagram.

Lebronlakers Nascar LoganoHEAVYWEIGHT SUNDAY IN MIAMI: LOGANO WINS NASCAR VS. LEBRON TORCHES HEAT: NASCAR ran its season championship race down at Homestead this afternoon with final-four longshot Joey Logano winning the season crown. And as the race was ending the Heat would tip off downtown against LeBron James' L.A. Lakers in his only visit of the season -- with Lakers winning 113-97 led by LeBron James' 51 points. Yes, 51! Pretty rare we get two events of that size on the same day. I took a Twitter poll on who you wanted to win the racing title and it could hardly have been closer: Kyle Busch 27 percent, Kevin Harvick and Martin Truex Jr, both 25%, and Logano 23%. Betting odds have it Busch and Harvick co-favorites at 11-4, Truex 6-1 and Logano 10-1. #WhyWeLoveSports

NEW: My LeBron torches Heat column: From the arena Sunday night as Lakers' LeBron James drops 51 on Miami: Oh What We Had, And What We Lost.

Our latest other columns: NASCAR, NFL picks, Wade, Gase/Richt: NASCAR Needs A Next Big Thing. NFL Week 11 GemsWade's World Bigger Than Hoops, And Good For Him. And Honeymoon Over: How Collapsing Seasons Put Heat on Gase, Richt.

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

Hotbutton1. HEAT: Miami hosts LeBron, LeBron torches Heat: LeBron James' L.A. Lakers were here tonight for their only visit of the season, and LeBron James' 51 points led a 113-97 L.A. win that dropped Miami to 6-10 in the continuing paternity absence of Dwyane Wade. Oh, and it was revealed Hassan Whiteside had a $50,000 assault rifle stolen from his unlocked car over the summer. That enough to digest for one week, Heat fans?

2. NASCAR: Logano wins season crown at Homestead: Mega-Sunday at Homestead-Miami Speedway as SoFla hosted NASCAR's season championship for 17th straight year. Kyle Busch, Kevin Harvick, Joey Logano or Martin Truex Jr. raced for the trophy, with Logano, the betting longshot, raising it.

3. HURRICANES: UM (finally) bowl-eligible after big win in Blacksburg: A bit of a sluggish start but the Canes came on and rolled at Va-Tech 38-14 on Saturday, ending a 4-game losing streak and getting bowl eligible at 6-5. Still a disappointing season, but UM fans were smiling for the first time in a long while.

4. MARLINS: Rebranding Fish unveil new uniforms, logo: The Derek Jeter's group's rebranding of the Marlins -- i.e., an attempt to make you forget Jeffrey Loria and David Samson ever existed -- continued this week the revealing of a new Marlins logo and colors. Rebrand and move new merchandise all at once. Brilliant!

5. DOLPHINS: Fins spend bye week with fingers crossed on Tannehill: Miami spends its bye off this week  at 5-5 after having lost five of past seven games, with a trip to Indianapolis on deck. Ryan Tannehil and his shoulder, out the last five games, is supposed to return. Any hope for a playoff run is all that depends on it.

6. PANTHERS: Cats on road trying to get hot again: Florida is now 7-10 with two straight losses following a five-game win streak. Team is away three more games before returning home as fans still wait to see who the real Cats are in an uneven start to the NHL season. 

7. SOCCER: Miami hosts international conference: Miami hosted "SoccerEx," a two-day global networking conference that drew soccer officials from 40 nations to Marlins Park. No announcement yet, but choice of sites is a strong hint where David Beckham's Inter Miami MLS expansion team might be playing while its new stadium is built at the Melreese site. 

8. UM HOOPS: Canes women are shining early: No. 24-ranked Miami women are 4-0 and should be moving up polls after Katie Meier's squad notched 63-55 home win over 19th-ranked Marquette, although UM faces tough test today at Iowa State. Almost forgot, Canes men, with an easier early schedule, also are unbeaten at 3-0.

9. COLLEGE FOOTBALL: Playoff picture remains steady: The top eight teams in the College Football Playoff ranking all won, so teams just below, such as now 10-0 NO. 11 UCF and No. 13 Florida, will have a tough time moving up. Can anything stop an Alabama-Clemson title game? Rhetorical question. Answer: Doubt it.

10. FIU: ButchCats win again, thinking title: FIU is 8-3 after Saturday's 42-35 win over Charlotte on coach Butch Davis' 67th birthday. Mostly, Panthers remain well in the hunt for Conference USA championship. 

Missing the HB10 cut: Awards week in MLB and so your Marlins have now traded away the 2017 and 2018 NL MVPs in Giancarlo Stanton and Christian Yelich ..... Tickets now on sale for Miami Open tennis as event moves from Key Biscayne to Hard Rock Stadium. Aesthetic downturn, yes, but the curiosity factor is there ..... MLS playoffs get intense with first leg of conference finals next Sunday. Soon, Miami. Soon ..... Update: Countdown now 2,773 days (give or take) until Miami hosts its first match in the 2026 World Cup.

CsmCANESFAN SATISFACTION METER: G11: Time again for the latest Canesfan Satisfaction Meter postgame poll, this in the wake of Saturday's 38-14 Miami victory at Virginia Tech putting Miami's season record at 6-5 overall and 3-4 in the ACC. The CSM is your invitation after every Canes football game -- no matter the result or opponent -- to vote on your overall satisfaction with the team and season in a continuing weekly gauge of how UM football fans are feeling. Criteria for voting is your own, but I suggest you consider the most recent game's performance and caliber of opponent, the season as a whole, the program's direction and your overall degree of optimism -- all in the context of reasonable expectations. Results are certified official the morning after one full day of voting. In this case that will be around 9 a.m. Monday. (The CSM also takes place on my Twitter site @gregcote. You may vote there now, too).

2018 CSM game-by game results

G1: 9.2% following 33-17 loss to LSU.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

G11: Voting now underway following 38-14 victory at Virginia Tech.

MiavtG11: HURRICANES 38, @VIRGINIA TECH 14: MIAMI FINALLY WINS AGAIN, FINALLY IS BOWL-ELIGIBLE: Final thoughts: Big plays defined UM's 38-14 win over Virginia Tech today in Blacksburg to end a four-game UM skid and make the Canes bowl-eligible at 6-5. Shaq Quartman's interception return to the Tech 3. Cam'Ron Davis' 42-yard TD run. Jeff Thomas' 51-yard punt-return score. And N'Kosi Perry's two TD passes without an interception. For me, Perry tightened his grip on the starting job. And freshman Cam Davis gives UM a lot to look forward to at running back. Miami was not consistently solid on offense and the defense allowed two long scoring drives. Still, after a dispiriting four straight losses, this is a huge day for a bowl-getting sixth win. This has been a disappointing season, but the Canes did not disappoint today with a nice road victory. 4QUM 38-14 on Perry-Davis 16-yard TD pass ... UM 31-14 on Thomas 51-yard punt return TD ... UM24-14 on Davis 42-yard TD run for biggest Canes lead ..... Halftime thoughts: Another teetering game by Miami. Offense again has been unimpressive, considering seven of UM's points were directly set up by a turnover. Defense has been OK overall but has allowed 76- and 75-yard scoring drives. Canes still must prove they're the better team ..... 2Q: UM 17-14 on Perry 1-yard TD run capping impressive 10-play, 71-yard drive ... VT 14-10 on 20-yard scoring run ...  UM 10-7 on Perry-Langham 3-yard TD pass, after Quarterman interception and return to VT 3 ..... UM 3-7 on 33-yard FG, after Wiggins drops well-throw Perry pass that should have been TD ... VT 7-0 on 15-yard TD pass, after UM gouged for 5-play, 76-yard opening drive ..... Original postWelcome to Saturday's Misery Bowl kicking off at 3:30 in Blacksburg before ESPN cameras. (Must be a slow week!) Trust us, when ESPN booked this game the Worldwide Leader thought it was getting something big. Instead it's getting oh what might have been! These were two preseason Top 25 teams expected to duel for the ACC Coastal division crown. This game should (theoretically) be to see who plays Clemson for the conference crown. Instead it matches two disappointing teams, also-rans scrambling just to get bowl-eligible. And both come in cold, Miami 5-5 after four straight losses, and Va-Tech 4-5 with three losses in a row. Sad! Two erstwhile proud programs trying to salvage unexpectedly down seasons and work an invite, at this point, to what? The Salad Bowl? Somebody has to snap their losing skid, and it'll be Miami, which opened as a 3 1/2 point favorite but saw that balloon to 6 1/2. And with reason. VT has been a bit of a nemesis for UM, which is 9-14 in the past 23 meetings and has lost four of the past five trips to Lane Stadium. That gives us some pause, yes. But more than that trend is this: the Hokies/Gobblers have one of the worst run defenses on Earth, and Travis Homer and DeeJay Dallas should run wild to alleviate pressure and burden from N'Kosi Perry. Also like The U's pass defense really limiting what Tech does best. People, if the Canes lose this game they flat-out don't deserve a bowl, any bowl. My pick: Hurricanes, 31-16.

OTHER STATE COLLBALL: There are seven FBS-level college teams in Florida. Here's chronological Week 12 schedule for the rest (all Saturday unless noted):

North Texas (8-3) beats FAU (5-6), 41-38: With Thursday night's loss, Lane Kiffin's Owls now have one game left to get bowl-eligible then pray somebody invites a .500 FAU.

No. 13 Florida (8-3) beats Idaho (4-7), 63-10: Gators, jockeying for poll 'n bowl position, were up 49-0 at half and coasted in mismatch.

Temple (7-4) beats South Florida (7-4), 27-17: The fast-fading Bulls allowed 17 unanswered points in fourth quarter to blow it again.

FIU (8-3) beats Charlotte (4-7), 42-35: The ButchCats, still with a shot to reach the C-USA title game, with a nice road win. And a happy birthday for coach Butch Davis!

FSU (5-6) beats No. 20 Boston College (7-4), 22-21: Nice little (small) home upset as the Noles stay alive (technically) at the Doak for bowl eligibility.

No. 11 UCF (10-0) beats No. 24 Cincinnati (9-1), 38-13: Huge! UCF extended its nation-best winning streak to 23 games and will host the AAC title game Dec. 1 after routing Cincy. ESPN's College GameDay was in Orlando to bless the Knights, one more reason for Canes fans to begrudge how the UCF program (until further notice) has surpassed UM.

Week 12 national Top 25 matchups (3): No. 3 Notre Dame beats No. 12 Syracuse, 36-3; 11-UCF beats 24-Cincinnati, 38-13; and 15-Texas beats 16-Iowa State, 24-10.

Select other recent columns: Moving Beyond Tannehill Smart But Not Easy For DolphinsDolfans, Your Team Is Not Easy To LoveNo More Excuses, Florida PanthersTannehill: Requiem For A QuarterbackWhatever Happened to Kenyan Drake? NFL 2018 Team RankingsDolphins? Heat? Nope. UM Football Owns This TownNFL Enters Year 3 Of Anthem-Protest QuagmireTo The Good-Guy Grinder In The ShadesTime to Flip the Old Narrative On Miami As a Sports TownCan Riley Rescue Heat From Purgatory? When 3 World Cup Legends Were Ours.

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

Twitter @gregcote

November 15, 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

BIG BEN TAKES WEEK, BREES REGAINS SEASON LEAD / MIAMI HERALD NFL QB RANKINGS / WEEK 10: The Saints' Drew Brees nudges ahead of Chief Patrick Mahomes to regain the overall Bigbenseason lead in the Miami Herald's latest NFL quarterback rankings. Week 10 honors go to Steeler Ben Roethlisberger (pictured) with a big 55.40-point game on Thursday night, lifting him one spot to sixth place overall. Lower in the chart, Dolphin Brock Osweiler bumps up one spot to 29th, finally surpassing Ryan Tannehill. Because our rankings are cumulative, players on a bye week take a temporary hit that evens out over the course of a season. This is our 21st season of Passer Success System (PASS) NFL QB rankings. Our formula is simple and unchanged since its inception in 1998, factoring accuracy, yardage, TD-interception ratio and team result. Most major ranking systems such as the NFL's and ESPN's are complicated and percentile based, allowing QBs who miss half a season to still win a title, while our system is cumulative, rewarding players who are consistently productive and avoid injury or benching. The Top 15 table (plus Dolphins) entering Week 11:

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

1       3      Drew Brees, NO                     46.25          396.05

2       1      Patrick Mahomes, KC             37.45          391.50

3       5      Matt Ryan, ATL                     46.50           373.70

4       4      Jared Goff, LAR                    43.90           371.70

5       2      Kirk Cousins, MIN                  BYE           352.75

6       7      Ben Roethlisberger, PIT         55.40           337.40

7       8      Andrew Luck, IND                 38.25           315.60

8       6      Tom Brady, NE                      13.70           315.40

9       9      Philip Rivers, LAC                 29.15           302.95

10    11      Aaron Rodgers, GB               30.95           286.55

11    12      Cam Newton, CAR                29.65           278.30

12    16      Eli Manning, NYG                 30.40           275.25

13    18      Carson Wentz, PHI               41.00           271.40

14    20      Mitch Trubisky, CHI              47.75           271.20

15    14      Derek Carr, OAK                  23.15           270.05

15    13      Matthew Stafford, DET        21.70           269.25

29    30     Brock Osweiler, MIA              16.65          126.35

30    29     Ryan Tannehill, MIA                DNP          112.60

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

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

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

Select other recent columns: Moving Beyond Tannehill Smart But Not Easy For DolphinsDolfans, Your Team Is Not Easy To LoveWade Reminds Us Why We'll Miss HimNo More Excuses, Florida PanthersTannehill: Requiem For A QuarterbackWhatever Happened to Kenyan Drake? NFL 2018 Team RankingsDolphins? Heat? Nope. UM Football Owns This TownNFL Enters Year 3 Of Anthem-Protest QuagmireTo The Good-Guy Grinder In The ShadesTime to Flip the Old Narrative On Miami As a Sports TownCan Riley Rescue Heat From Purgatory? When 3 World Cup Legends Were Ours.

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

Twitter @gregcote

November 13, 2018

Dolfan Satisfaction Meter: 5.8%; plus Fins fall 31-12 at Green Bay, drop to 5-5; also, latest Hot Button Top 10 (updated; are Collapsing Canes on top?), thank you Veterans & more

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

Vetday1) It's MONDAY, NOVEMBER 12. Veterans Day is when we honor all of those who have served in our military. Thank you! 2) Find results of the latest Canesfan Satisfaction Meter poll in the previous blogpost or directly here. 3) Football is raging and the holidays are upon us. That means it's the perfect time to delight Dolfans you know with the gift of our 'Fins At 50' book. Check it out on Amazon. 4) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Hurricanes lose fourth straight with CSM poll, other state Collball, your Dolphins-in-playoffs verdict & more. 5) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook and Instagram.

Our latest columns: Sabermetrics ace and Red Sox adviser Bill James fell into hot water by saying baseball players are replaceable, likening their importance to that of beer vendors. By extension he meant athletes in general. But here's the thing. He may be right. I discuss in my newest column. To read: Bill James Struck A Nerve, But He's More Right Than Wrong. Also: Marino Set the Blueprint For Mahomes and State of Shock For Canes, Gators and Noles.

DsmDOLFAN SATISFACTION METER: G10: Results are certified in the latest Dolfan Satisfaction Meter postgame poll, and they show 5.8 percent overall approval -- the combination of "very" and "somewhat" satisfied votes -- in the wake of Sunday's 31-12 loss at Green Bay putting Miami's season record at 5-5. That ties for the season low. The DSM is a continuous weekly gauge of how Dolfans are feeling about the team and its direction. Right after each game I invite you to share your overall degree of satisfaction. Criteria for voting is your own, but I suggest fans consider the most recent game's performance and caliber of opponent, season as a whole, direction the club is heading and your overall degree of optimism -- all in the context of reasonable expectations. Results are certified official the morning after one full day of voting. In this case that was around 6:45 a.m. today/Tuesday. (The DSM also takes place on our Twitter site @gregcote. The approval rating there was 25%).

2018 DSM game-by-game results

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

G9: 29.6% following 13-6 victory vs. N.Y. Jets.

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

Next poll: Nov. 25 (after bye week) following game at Indianapolis.

G10: GREEN BAY 31, DOLPHINS 12: TEMPS in 20'S, PACKER POINTS IN 30'S. TOLD YA!: Final thoughts: Four field goals does not pass as decent offense in any world I know. Especially at Lambeau Field against Aaron Rodgers ..... 4Q: GB 31-12 as Pack add 38-yard FG. It's over, people ..... 3Q: GB 28-12 on Rodgers-Adam 25-yard scoring pass. This game feels over ... GB 21- Miagb12 on Jones 12-yard TD run. Like I said, FGs will nit beat Rodgers in Green Bay ... MIA 12-14 on 40-yard FG ... Halftime thoughts: Rodgers less than 100 yards passing? Gore kicking ass? Good, encouraging signs for Miami. But field goals will not beat Rodgers at Lambeau. Book that ..... 2Q: MIA 9-14 on 47-yard FG. Fins competitive, but will settling for threes come back to haunt? ... MIA 6-14 on 25-yard FG after red-zone fizzle ... GB 14-3 on Jones 2-yards TD run set up by his 67-yard run ... 1Q: Fins defense gouged for 67-yard run to arrange another Pack score as quarter ends ... MIA 3-7 on 37-yard FG after Pack fumble. A 3rd-and-8 sack forced the three ... Miami recovers fumble on punt return near midfield ... GB 7-0 on Rodgers-Adams 7-yard TD pass, capitalizing on Miami turnover ... Nice opening drive by Fins ruined by lost fumble. Shotgun snap to Osweiler looked fast and high, but catchable ..... Pregame: Patriots loss today means Miami can move within one game and re-energize whole season with win at Lambeau ... Starting OTs Laremy Tunsil and Ja'Wuan James both inactive today. Oh my. Good lukc, Osweiler! ..... Original post: Miami is a surprisingly not-terrible 5-4 and Green Bay is a surprisingly desperate 3-4-1 and yet the Packers are favored by a big 10 points in today's 4:25 p.m. Lambeau Field kickoff before CBS cameras. Why? Quotation of the week to Dolphins coach Adam Gase, who said it deadpan-perfect, when asked if his defense could carry the momentum of last week’s domination of the Jets into this Sunday’s game in Green Bay: "Aaron Rodgers is a little different than Sam Darnold," noted Gase. I might further note that Mr. Rodgers also is a little different than Brock Osweiler. And that temperatures diving into the 20s at Lambeau will be a little different for the Fins than the advantageous comfort of home humidity. I’m scrounging around for reasons to believe in a Miami upset, and finding the cupboard bare short of assuming least a couple of Dolphins takeaways. (Perhaps a pick by Reshad Jones, if he deigns to actually appear in the game rather than pouting on the sideline?) Reasons to not like the Dolphins today are easier to spot. Osweiler is gradually becoming Osweiler again; he has not thrown a touchdown pass for almost nine quarters. Miami is 1-3 away and the Gee Bees 3-0-1 at home. All four of Miami’s losses have been by double digits, and the Dolphins are on a 1-8 skid when kicking off as road underdogs. Miami’s best shot might be that Green Bay — after facing the Patriots last week and with roadies to Seattle/Minnesota on deck — might sort of not pay much attention to this game. Except the Pack’s scant margin of error in the playoff chase assures Rodgers and the Cheesers will be on high alert here, buoyed by the Frozen Tundra and the ghost of Vince Lombardi in a fedora. Bonus fact: GB’s offensive coordinator is Joe Philbin. How much do you figure he’d love to run up the score? The forecast for today in Green Bay: Temps in the 20s, Pack points in the 30s. My pick: Green Bay, 37-20.

Visit Week 10 Gems for all of our latest NFL picks. 

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

Hotbutton1. HURRICANES: It's four straight losses with UM's fall at Tech: With Saturday's 27-21 loss at Georgia Tech the Hurricanes are now 5-5, have lost four in a row, are not yet bowl-eligible and are 5-8 in the past 13 games. Let's all agree that the honeymoon is over for Mark Richt. Heck, at this rate, the divorce lawyers may be on call.

2. DOLPHINS: Miami fizzles on the frozen tundra: The Dolphins' defense handled the Jets in winning last week but Aaron Rodgers is different than Sam Darnold about as subtly as Green Bay temps in the 20s are to South Florida humidity. And so 31-12 Green Bay on Sunday has the Fins, once 3-0, now stalled at 5-5.

3. HEAT: Sputtering Heat brace for Sixers and Butler, then LeBron: Heat at 5-7 have lost two straight and five of seven as they prepare to host Philadelphia and newly acquired Jimmy Butler Monday night. Minnesota trading Butler into the East made Miami's playoff chase that much more problematic. Almost forgot: Lakers and LeBron here in seven days.

4. NASCAR: Championship Four is set for Homestead: Joey Logano and Kevin Harvick were joined by Kyle Busch and Martin Truex in the Championship Four for next Sunday's NASCAR title run at Homestead. The final two spots were filled in yesterday's penultimate race in Phoenix. Now the entire sport packs up and heads south of Miami.

5. SOCCER: Miami MLS wins stadium vote: The David Beckham group's embryonic Major League Soccer expansion franchise, Inter Miami, comfortably won voter approval on stadium plans for the Melreese site. Meanwhile the MLS playoffs continue with semifinals pitting Portland vs. Sporting KC and New York vs. Atlanta.

6. PANTHERS: Ice on fire! The Cats are heating up: Slow-starting Florida has now won four in a row to rise to 6-8 with Sunday's victory over Ottawa prior to a six-game road trip. Credit some of the rally to the return of goalie Roberto Luongo. They honored the late Bill Torrey, Panthers founding father, before Saturday's home win. All hail the Bowtie!

7. UM HOOPS: Canes men, women off and runnning: UM men routed Lehigh in their opener and will now beef up their record vs. a soft schedule until the serious games start in January, when we start paying attention for real. Meanwhile he 25th-ranked Canes women are 2-0 and continue relentlessly competitive under Katie Meier.

8. GATORS: UF protects ranking with big rally: No. 15 Florida scored the game's last 21 points Saturday to survive South Carolina in the Swamp, 35-31. UM and FSU have lost a combined seven games in a row, but The Gator (oh, and 9-0 UCF) are holding up the state.  

9. FIU: ButchCats sail to 7-3 record: Well at least one Miami college football team is winning. As the Canes marinate in a four-game losing streak, FIU is 7-3 with Saturday's 45-7 rout of UTSA. Overlooked program continues to climb under Butch Davis.

10. DOG RACING: State bans greyhound racing: Florida citizens this week voted to ban dog racing in the state, meaning some 6,000 suddenly retired racing greyhound may need new homes. Breathing a well-earned sigh of relief: the mechanical rabbit!

Missing the HB10 cut: State of Florida's election recount is underway in several key races. Depending on your point of view, it's a noble effort to get it right or screwing your candidate who thought he'd won ..... Alabama, Clemson, Notre Dame, Michigan: the CFP top four, uninterrupted ..... Would somebody give Bryce Harper and Manny Machado a bunch of money already!? ..... I'd like to report that the Duke men's basketball team is, like, really good ..... Update: Countdown now 2,780 days (give or take) until Miami hosts its first match in the 2026 World Cup.

Other select recent columns: Dolphins Win, But Under Cloud, Not RainbowTime For Faith In Richt, And PatienceMoving Beyond Tannehill Smart But Not Easy For DolphinsDolfans, Your Team Is Not Easy To LoveSnakebit AdamFamily TraditionVictor-y, Miami! Wade Reminds Us Why We'll Miss HimNo More Excuses, Florida PanthersTannehill: Requiem For A QuarterbackWhatever Happened to Kenyan Drake? NFL 2018 Team RankingsDolphins? Heat? Nope. UM Football Owns This TownNFL Enters Year 3 Of Anthem-Protest QuagmireTo The Good-Guy Grinder In The ShadesTime to Flip the Old Narrative On Miami As a Sports TownCan Riley Rescue Heat From Purgatory? When 3 World Cup Legends Were Ours.

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

Twitter @gregcote

November 12, 2018

Canesfan Satisfaction Meter: 12.6%; plus UM falls at Georgia Tech 27-21, 4th straight loss; also, your Dolphins-in-playoffs verdict, rest of state Collball, my Bill James column, honoring Bill Torrey & more

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

Torrey1) It's SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 11. Islanders were at Panthers last night, and they honored the late Bill Torrey (pictured). He made champions of the Isles and founded the Cats. The legacy of the kind man in the bowtie is secure. 2) Football season and the holidays up on us means it's the perfect time to delight Dolfans you know with the gift of our 'Fins At 50' book. Check it out on Amazon. 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): NFL Week 10 picks, Bill James column, Mahomes/Marino parallel, Dolphins-playoffs poll, congrats D. Wade & more. 4) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook and Instagram.

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

Other most recent stuff: Week 10 Gems (our latest NFL picks). Marino Set the Blueprint For Mahomes. And State of Shock For Canes, Gators and Noles.

CsmCANESFAN SATISFACTION METER: G10: Results are certified in the latest Canesfan Satisfaction Meter postgame poll, and they show 12.6 percent overall approval -- the combination of "very" and "somewhat" satisfied votes -- in the wake of Saturday night's 27-21 UM loss at Georgia Tech putting Miami's season record at 5-5 overall and 2-4 in the ACC. The CSM is your invitation after every Canes football game -- no matter the result or opponent -- to vote on your overall satisfaction with the team and season in a continuing weekly gauge of how UM football fans are feeling. Criteria for voting is your own, but I suggest you consider the most recent game's performance and caliber of opponent, the season as a whole, the program's direction and your overall degree of optimism -- all in the context of reasonable expectations. Results are certified official the morning after one full day of voting. In this case that was around 8:30 a.m. today/Monday. (The CSM also takes place on my Twitter site @gregcote. The approval there was 21%).

2018 CSM game-by game results

G1: 9.2% following 33-17 loss to LSU.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Next poll: Nov. 17 following game at Virginia Tech.

G10: @GEORGIA TECH 27, HURRICANES 21: UM DROPS 4TH STRAIGHT: Postgame thoughts: Ugh. Three turnovers. Dumb penalties. And a fourth straight loss. UM now 5-8 in its last 13 games under Mark Richt. N'Kosi Perry was OK tonight. The defense wasn't terrible. Mistakes killed UM ..... Original post: The stakes? With both teams at 5-4, only the winner here becomes bowl-eligible, and only the winner keeps at least some semblance of hope (against odds) of still winning the ACC Coastal and reaching the conference title game. That seems far-fetched right now, of course, especially Miagtfor the Canes. The two teams are aimed in opposite directions. Miami carries the weight and burden of a three-game losing streak into tonight's 7 o'clock game in Atlanta, while Georgia Tech has won two in a row, both on the road. That and the home field are why the Yellow Jackets are favored, albeit by a modest 2 1/2 points. UM's desperation for a win is underlined by the fact next week's game at Virginia Tech will be another huge challenge and loss-threat. In other words, if the Canes fall tonight, they'd be realistically facing the school's first five-game in-season losing streak since 1977. But that's getting ahead. The challenge tonight: Finding some offense. UM hasn't scored more than 14 points in a game in over a month as neither Malik Rosier nor N'Kosi Perry has been successful. Mark Richt's latest coin flip landed on Perry, who is to start tonight. The other major task for The U: Contain Tech's vaunted triple-option ground game, which leads the nation averaging 377 rushing yards per game. UM's defense must win the early downs and force Tech to pass, which the Jackets hate to do. Why I like the Canes to end their losing streak with an upset tonight: It isn't that I trust Perry or the offense. Manny Diaz's defense will win this game. UM leads the nation in tackles for loss and is well suited to disrupt or at least limit what Tech does best. GT also is prone to sloppiness, with nine turnovers in their four losses, and forcing those is sort of what Miami's D does. Also, Miami has won eight of past nine meetings in this series including three of the past four in Atlanta. My pick: Upset! Hurricanes 27-23.

OTHER STATE COLLBALL: There are seven FBS-level college teams in Florida. Here's chronological Week 11 schedule for the rest (all Saturday):

No. 12 UCF (9-0) beats Navy (2-8), 35-24: Knights, headed for AAC title game, were 25 1/2-point favorites but coasted on autopilot vs. overmatched Midshipmen.

No. 15 Florida (7-3) beats South Carolina (5-4), 35-31: Gators off two straight losses were modest 6-point Swamp favorites and needed to rally and score game's final 21 points to survive.

FAU (5-5) beats Western Kentucky (1-9), 34-15: Lane Kiffin's Owls were 3-touchdown betting picks but needed big second half to win.

FIU (7-3) beats UTSA (3-7), 45-7: ButchCats, still fighting to reach C-USA title game, were 10 1/2-point road faves and crushed it at Texas-San Antonio.

Cincinnati (9-1) beats South Florida (7-3), 35-23Sinking Bulls have now dropped three in a row, giving up 133 points in the process.

No. 3 Notre Dame (10-0) beats FSU (4-6), 42-13Noles have now lost three straight. Backup QB? NO problem for Irish as they solidify hold on College Football Playoff.

Week 11 national Top 25 matchups (4): No. 10 Ohio State beats No. 18 Michigan State, 26-6; 1-Alabama beats 16-Mississippi State, 24-0; 5-Georgia beats 24-Auburn, 27-10; and 2-Clemson beats 17-Boston College, 27-7.

POLL RESULT: LANDSLIDE SAY NO DOLPHINS IN PLAYOFFS: We asked very simply, yes or no, will the 5-4 Miami Dolphins make the playoffs? Your answer: 84.75 percent no, 15.25% yes. Ouch.

Other select recent columns: Dolphins Win, But Under Cloud, Not RainbowTime For Faith In Richt, And PatienceMoving Beyond Tannehill Smart But Not Easy For DolphinsDolfans, Your Team Is Not Easy To LoveSnakebit AdamFamily TraditionVictor-y, Miami! Wade Reminds Us Why We'll Miss HimNo More Excuses, Florida PanthersTannehill: Requiem For A QuarterbackWhatever Happened to Kenyan Drake? NFL 2018 Team RankingsDolphins? Heat? Nope. UM Football Owns This TownNFL Enters Year 3 Of Anthem-Protest QuagmireTo The Good-Guy Grinder In The ShadesTime to Flip the Old Narrative On Miami As a Sports TownCan Riley Rescue Heat From Purgatory? When 3 World Cup Legends Were Ours.

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

Twitter @gregcote

November 06, 2018

Dolfan Satisfaction Meter: 29.6%; plus Fins beat Jets 13-6 behind big defense, with my new column from game; also, latest Hot Button Top 10, NFL Week 9 picks, your most-disappointing-team verdict (landslide!) & more

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

1) It's MONDAY, NOVEMBER 5. Latest Canesfan Satisfaction Meter results are in. Find 'em in the previous blogpost. They ain't pretty. 2) Football season means it's the perfect time to delight Dolfans you know with our 'Fins At 50' book. Check it out on Amazon. 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Hurricanes lose to Duke with CSM poll, Biggest Disappointment Poll, NFL Week 9 picks, other state Collball & more. 4) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook and Instagram.

My Dolphins-Jets game column: From the stadium and the lockerroom Sunday, visit Dolphins Win, But Under Cloud, Not Rainbow.

Select other recent columns: Time For Faith In Richt, And Patience. And Moving Beyond Tannehill Smart But Not Easy For Dolphins. Also: Dolfans, Your Team Is Not Easy To Love (fans vent). Snakebit Adam (luckless Adam Gase). Family Tradition (N'Kosi Perry's $$$ video). And Victory-y, Miami! (Marlins sign Victor Victor Mesa).

DOLFAN SATISFACTION METER: G9: 29.6%: Results are certified in the latest Dolfan Satisfaction Meter postgame poll, and they show 29.6 percent overall approval -- the combination of "very" and "somewhat" satisfied votes -- in the wake of Sunday afternoon's 13-6 home victory over the New York Jets putting Miami's season record at 5-4. The DSM is a continuous weekly gauge of how Dolfans are feeling about the team and its direction. Right after each game I invite you to share your overall degree of satisfaction. Criteria for voting is your own, but I suggest fans consider the most recent game's performance and caliber of opponent, season as a whole, direction the club is heading and your overall degree of optimism -- all in the context of reasonable expectations. Results are certified official the morning after one full day of voting. In this case that was around 7 a.m. today/Tuesday. (The DSM also takes place on our Twitter site @gregcote. The approval rate there was 32%).

2018 DSM game-by-game results

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

G9: 29.6% following 13-6 victory vs. N.Y. Jets.

Next poll: Nov. 11 following game at Green Bay.

G9: DOLPHINS 13, N.Y. JETS 6: BIG DEFENSE OVERCOMES LITTLE OFFENSE FOR MIAMI: Postgame thoughts? How about an entire game column! Visit Dolphins Win, But Under Cloud, Not Rainbow ..... Halftime thoughts: The Jets offense has been just the cure for Miami's defensive woes that we imagined. Miami has allowed only 117 total yards in the first half, while its own offense has generated only 134. In sum, 3 field goals, 8 punts, 1 lousy game thus far ..... Original post: The Jets won their season opener — big — and Sam Darnold was the mayor of Gotham. The NyjmiaDolphins started out 3-0 and Ryan Tannehill was back and better than ever. What the hell happened!? Rhetorical question. The NFL happened. Darnold’s rookie learning curve kicked in; he doesn’t get much help and the Planes (led by Dead Man Coaching Todd Bowles) have averaged a meager 13.6 points in their five losses at 3-5. And Miami continues to wait for Tannehill’s return from a shoulder injury like Vladimir and Estragon waiting for Godot. Godot never showed. Tannehill might, someday, meanwhile we get a fourth straight game of Brock Osweiler. Brockvember? (Who else works a 1950s Samuel Beckett play into an NFL pick, by the way? You’re welcome!). The fact the home team here has a better record at 4-4 yet is only favored by a bare-bones 3 points verifies how little bettors believe in Miami. I get that. At the same time, what better salve for the Fins’ colossal downturn in defensive success than a sincerely bad NYJ offense? Miami beat the Stinkin’ Jets 20-12 in Week 2 and I’d imagine a similar score, and result. Jets dissolve into a puddle on the road and Miami has won five of its past seven division home games. So let’s make it a venue call fortified by the belief Miami’s defense cannot possibly be worse than we’ve seen lately. Dolfans, prepare to step inside off of that high ledge because the Jets are about to “L-O-S-E, lose!” My pick: Dolphins, 23-16.

Visit Week 9 Gems for all of our latest NFL picks. 

POLL RESULT: CANES FOOTBALL IS BIGGEST DISAPPOINTMENT: We asked (and this was mostly before Saturday's UM loss to Duke) what major South Florida sports team is the most disappointing to you right now? Your verdict: 47.30 percent--

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

Hotbutton1. HURRICANES: UM falls at home to Duke for 3rd straight loss: Once 5-1 and ranked, UM is now 5-4 following Saturday's rain-drenched 20-12 loss at home to Duke. Canes were 9 1/2-point favorites but were doomed by two key lost fumbles. Or three, if you count Mark Richt's fumbling of his quarterback situation.

2. DOLPHINS: Big defense helps Stumblin' Fins get past Stinkin' Jets: Miami is 5-4 after Sunday's 13-6 home win over the Stinkin' Jets. Based on low preseason expectations this is not bad. Based on a 3-0 start, sputtering offense and Brock Osweiler ... not so good.

3. UM HOOPS: Hurricanes men open play this Friday: Jim Larranaga's unranked (but receiving votes) UM men open their season this Friday vs. Lehigh. Canes have no freshmen on roster, the fallout of recruiting damage from last year's implication in that FBI probe into corruption in the sport -- one that has found Larranaga and the program not found guilty of anything yet sullied. Katie Meier's UM women, ranked No. 25, open on Tuesday at FIU.

4. COLLEGE BASKETBALL: Kentucky-Duke tops marquee as season opens: No. 2-ranked Kentucky faces No. 4 Duke and 1-Kansas plays 10-Michigan State as the men's college basketball season rolls out with a bang this Tuesday. Now if we can keep attention on the court this year and away from the shady dealings of Adidas executives and teams on the take, we'll be OK.

5. HEAT: Slumping Miami drops third straight: The Heat is 3-5 after a third straight loss last night in Atlanta despite Josh Richardson's 32 points. Miami is at Detroit Monday night then home for four. And if you haven't circled it in red on the calendar yet: Heat host LeBron's Lakers Nov. 18.

6. COLLEGE FOOTBALL: Shakeup ahead in CFP top four: Alabama and Clemson solidified their 1-2 spots in the College Football Playoff ranking with huge wins Saturday -- 'Bama's at the expense of No. 3 LSU. Watch Notre Dame and Michigan hike up to 3-4 in the new rankings, with the Tigers now on the outside. 

7. MLB: Hey big spenders, free agency now underway: It officially began on Saturday, with the Nationals' Bryce Harper and Dodgers' Manny Machado seen as the big two big prizes. Free agency involves big spending by teams willing to put their wallets where there hopes are. Meaning we'll likely hear crickets from the Marlins.

8. PANTHERS: Luongo back as Cats split games in Finland: Panthers are now 3-8 on the season after splitting two games with Winnipeg in NHL Global Series in Helsinki, Finland. Games resume Thursday vs. Edmonton here with goalie Roberto Luongo finally back healthy again.

9. SHULA BOWL: FAU stuns FIU in rivalry renewal: FIU was home, favored and having a better season. FAU was the visitor, the underdog and having a relatively lousy season. There was every reason to imagine Butch Davis smiling at the end, not Lane Kiffin. Final: FAU, 49-14. 

10. ELECTION DAY: Mid-term election are Tuesday. Vote!: Do your civic duty as an American citizen. Go out and vote for the candidate of my choice!

Missing the HB10 cut: Sure the Canes lost again, but Florida and FSU also lost Saturday. What's that they say about misery? ..... The World Series trophy was damaged by a thrown full can of beer during the Red Sox championship parade. That's terrible. Talk about a waste of beer! ..... Golfers beginning in 2019 may opt to putt with the flagstick in, and at least one, Bryson DeChambeau, says he will. I'd be more impressed if he planned to putt with the flagstick itself ..... American star Simone Biles dominated at the world gymnastics championships in Qatar despite suffering from kidney stones. Which sounds impossible, by the way ..... With only 14 days until NASCAR finale at Homestead, Joey Logano is only driver who's locked into Championship Four ..... ESPN analyst Tim Tebow criticized Maryland for firing scandalized football coach D.J. Durkin. "Not even I can agree with Timmy on that one," said God ..... Breeders' Cup ran Saturday at Churchill Downs. It's the one horse race that folks who only care about the Triple Crown races might actually watch ..... Major League Soccer playoffs are down to the final eight. Is Inter Miami sending a scout, David Beckham? ..... After months of blessed quiet, public buffoon LaVar Ball reemerged to say he could coach the Lakers with his "eyes shut." I'd prefer he try anything with his mouth shut ..... Update: Countdown now 2,787 days (give or take) until Miami hosts its first match in the 2026 World Cup.

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

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

Twitter @gregcote

November 05, 2018

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

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

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

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

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

2018 CSM game-by game results

G1: 9.2% following 33-17 loss to LSU.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

VOTE FOR YOUR TOP TWO (2)


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

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

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

Twitter @gregcote

October 29, 2018

Latest Hot Button Top 10 (updated): See who's No. 1 this week and what else falls where; plus Red Sox reign, it-ain't-easy-being-a-Dolfan column, NFL Week 8 picks & more

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

1) It's MONDAY, OCTOBER 29. Check out the latest Canesfan and Dolfan postgame satisfaction polls at CSM and DSM. Warning. They're both both depressing. 2) Homer Me the Red Sox fan is presently staging a one-man championship parade in his house. Go Saaawx! 3) Football season means it's the right time to delight Dolfans you know with our 'Fins At 50' book. Check it out on Amazon. 4) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Hurricanes lose at Boston College with CSM poll, it-ain't-easy-being-a-Dolfan column, other state Collball & more. 5) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook and Instagram.

It ain't easy being a Dolfan: Hundreds of Miami Dolphins fans told me what it's like to be Dolfan. I bet some of y'all can relate. Their/your answers informed my latest column. To read the venting and frustration, visit Dolfans, Your Team Is Not Easy To Love.

NFL Week 8 picks: We bull's-eyed Thursday night's Dolphins loss in Houston. For all of Sunday's (and tonight's) picks, visit Week 8 Gems.

Other most recent stuff: On Dolphins head coach: Snakebit Adam. On N'Kosi Perry's lap-cash video: Family Tradition. And on Marlins signing Victor Victor Mesa and Victor Jr.: Victory-y, Miami! 

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

Hotbutton1. DOLPHINS: Fins fall in Houston as defense collapses again: The 42-23 Thursday night loss at Houston dropped Miami (once 3-0) to an even 4-4 at midseason. However, other than Ryan Tannehill still being out, the recent embarrassing defensive collapse, the spate of injuries and palpable fan dissatisfaction, indications are all is well!

2. HURRICANES: Slumping UM loses at Boston College: UM's 27-14 Friday night loss at Boston College found neither Malik Rosier nor the defense playing particularly well. Canes now 5-3 after the second straight loss, with hopes fading sharply for a return to ACC title game. Mark Richt's third season in the Gables is looking like regression.

3. MLB: Dominant Red Sox roll to World Series championship!: Boston bounced the Dodgers in five games, clinching last night with a home run barrage in L.A. -- the Red Sox's only loss that record-setting 18-inning, 7-hours-plus marathon on Friday. Red Sox fans weren't sure whether to want the clincher back at Fenway or to get it over with last night -- a happy dilemma indeed.

4. HEAT: Miami above .500 for first time: Heat's 120-111 home win over Portland has Miami 3-2 and on good side of .500 for first time in the young NBA season. Dwyane Wade's 18 in first half and Goran Dragic's 28 total did the heavy lifting. Oh, and Chris Bosh earlier made his first return to arena since his medical departure. It was a love-fest, a hug-in! The soundtrack of the visual would have been the whole crowd singing Kumbaya!

5. COLLEGE FOOTBALL: Season's first CFP ranking on deck: First College Football Playoff pecking order comes out Tuesday, with the top four all that matters. Alabama-Clemson-Notre Dame should be a clear, perfunctory top three, but then it gets interesting. Call it The Fight For Fourth.

6. GATORS: Florida's big chance goes awry vs. Georgia: It was No. 9 Gators vs. No, 7 Bulldogs in neutral Jacksonville Saturday and it was close ... and then it wasn't. Georgia pulled away and won 36-17, dropping UF's season from potentially special to shades of pretty good.

7. PANTHERS: Struggling Cats headed for pair in Finland: With Saturday's 3-2 loss at New Jersey the Panthers have now won only two of their first nine games, five of them going to overtime or shootouts. Florida now faces Winnipeg two in a row in Helsinki, Finland, as part of NHL's Global Series this Thursday and Friday. Maybe a break from North America will do the Cats good.

8. COLLEGE BASKETBALL: Canes men's hoops still embroiled in FBI mess: FBI wiretaps into college basketball corruption include Adidas reps discussing whether to divert a top recruit from Arizona to UM, an Adidas school. Neither Jim Larranaga or his program have been implicated in wrongdoing, but it's still an unwanted cloud as his Hurricanes' Nov. 9 season opener nears.

9. SOCCER: It was an unusual El Clasico Sunday: Real Madrid at Barcelona in La Liga play on Sunday was the 238th El Clasico but the first in more than a decade featuring neither Cristiano Ronaldo (who left Madrid for Juventus over the summer) nor Lionel Messi (out injured for Barca with a fractured arm). Call it El Clasico Reducido. And a rout: Barca, 5-1.

10. FIU: ButchCats win, get bowl-eligible: FIU is 6-2 and bowl-eligible after a 38-17 rout at Western Kentucky. Last year FAU's Lane Kiffin dwarfed FIU's Butch Davis in attention among the first-year coaches. This year so far: Lane Train off the rails and it's all ButchCats.

Missing the HB10 cut: Halloween is Wednesday. I wanted a costume nobody else would have, so I'm dressing up as someone who isn't the least bit worried that America is going insane ..... That reminds me: Robert D. Bowers and Cesar Sayoc, your reservations in Hell are confirmed ..... Four Jaguars reportedly tried to skip out on a $64,000 bar tab in London. I'm guessing they went top-shelf? ..... LeBron wins! Finally, after the Lakers' 0-3 start ..... Marlins' recently signed young Cuban star, Victor Victor Mesa, is relentlessly active on social media. If his hitting is as productive as his Tweeting, Fish fans will be in for a treat ..... Countdown now 21 days 'til NASCAR season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway ..... Update: Countdown now 2,794 days (give or take) until Miami hosts its first match in the 2026 World Cup.

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

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

Twitter @gregcote

October 28, 2018

Canesfan Satisfaction Meter: 7.8% (season low); plus UM falls at BC 27-14, now 5-3 as ACC title-game hopes take huge hit. Our thoughts; plus it ain't easy being a Dolfan (latest column), other state Collball (Gators fall, FIU wins) & more

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

1) It's SATURDAY, OCTOBER 27. Check out the latest Dolfan Satisfaction Meter (DSM) vote here. Ouch. It's a season low. 2) I've been a Red Sox fan since 1967. They're back in the World Series. Hell NO  I didn't stay up 7 hours until 3 a.m. for  last night's 18-inning game, are you insane!? 3) Football season means it's the right time to delight Dolfans you know with our 'Fins At 50' book. Check it out on Amazon. 4) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Dolphins get clobbered in Houston with DSM poll, NFL Week 8 picks & more. 5) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook and Instagram.

IT AIN'T EAST BEING A DOLFAN (NEW COLUMN): Hundreds of Miami Dolphins fans told me what it's like to be Dolfan. Their answers informed my latest column. To read the venting and frustration, visit Dolfans, Your Team Is Not Easy To Love. My other most recent work: Latest NFL picks: Week 8 Gems. Dolphins' coach is more than competent, he's just: Snakebit Adam. N'Kosi Perry's cash video isn't Canes outrage, it's a: Family Tradition. And Marlins signing Victor Victor Mesa and Victor Jr., it's: Victory-y, Miami! 

CsmCANESFAN SATISFACTION METER: G8: 7.8%: Results are certified in the latest Canesfan Satisfaction Meter postgame poll, and they show a season-low 7.8 percent overall approval -- the combination of "very" and "somewhat" satisfied votes -- in the wake of Friday night's 27-14 UM loss at Boston College putting Miami's season record at 5-3 overall and 2-2 in the ACC. The CSM is your invitation after every Canes football game -- no matter the result or opponent -- to vote on your overall satisfaction with the team and season in a continuing weekly gauge of how UM football fans are feeling. Criteria for voting is your own, but I suggest you consider the most recent game's performance and caliber of opponent, the season as a whole, the program's direction and your overall degree of optimism -- all in the context of reasonable expectations. Results are certified official the morning after one full day of voting. In this case that was around 10:15 a.m. today/Sunday. (The CSM also takes place on my Twitter site @gregcote. The vote there was 16% approval).

2018 CSM game-by game results

G1: 9.2% following 33-17 loss to LSU.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Next poll: Nov. 3 following game vs. Duke. 

G8: @BOSTON COLLEGE 27, HURRICANES 14: SECOND STRAIGHT LOSS DROPS UM TO 5-3Postgame thoughts: We called the (slight) upset win by host Boston College. The score was legit, indicative of the flow of the game. Malik Rosier (two picks, one his fault) did not score enough. Mostly, the vaunted Canes defense allowed almost 450 yards of BC offense. Miami now 5-3, a Bc Theusharp step back from last season thus far, and a return to the ACC title game now an unlikelihood ..... Original post: When we last left the Canes they were falling 16-13 at Virginia, falling to a 5-2 record , and falling like a rock from No. 16 clean out of the national polls. (I put out a "Nervous Night Alert" for that game and was right!) Well, now, after a bye week, it doesn't get any easier for The U, folks. Tonight's 7 o'clock game at Boston College before ESPN cameras will be a rugged challenge. Both teams are 5-2 and 2-1 in the ACC. UM needs a win to keep a realistic hope of getting back to the conference championship game, but the Canes are modest 3 1/2 point favorites in temps expected in the 40s, and a win by the BC Eagles should shock nobody. Malik Rosier is back starting at QB for Miami as Mark Richt continues to waffle between his veteran and redshirt-freshman N'Kosi Perry. Rosier is back on merit, Richt says, although Perry's infamous cash-money video surely made returning to Rosier easier. Boston College also is coming off a bye, and is 4-0 at home. Miami has dominated the all-time series, 24-5, but the most recent meeting (2012) predating all the current players lessens the significance of that trend. Miami's stout defense vs. premier BC running back A.J. Dillon will be a key tonight. A shaky Canes offensive line giving Rosier time to operate also will be important. The return of BC's Dillon from injury and the weather magnifying the Eagles' home-field edge tips this coin-flip prediction. My pick: Boston College, 24-20.

OTHER STATE COLLBALL: There are seven FBS-level college teams in Florida. Here's chronological Week 9 schedule for the rest (all Saturday unless noted otherwise):

Louisiana Tech (6-2) beats FAU (3-5), 21-13: Owls were favored by 3 1/2 in the Boca nest, but Lane Kiffin saw FAU's 10-game home win streak end Friday night as his humbling sophomore season continued. Lane Train: Derailed.

No. 2 Clemson (8-0) beats FSU (4-4), 59-10: This final weekend before first College Football Playoff ranking would have been a really bad time for the Tigers, 17-point favorites, to fall. Um, no chance. A scoreless first quarter turned into an avalanche that buried the Noles.

No. 7 Georgia (7-1) beats No. 9 Florida (6-2), 36-17: World's Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party in neutral-site Jacksonville might have been the college Game of the Year going in, but, after Gators hung in for awhile, it was quite the mismatch. Favored Dawgs earned an inside lane to reach SEC title game and also gets to believe it still has a shot at sneaking up into CFP top four.

Houston (7-1) beats No. 21 South Florida (7-1), 57-36: Big American conference duel found USF a 7 1/2-point road 'dog with good reason. Farewell polls, Bulls!

FIU (6-2) beats Western Kentucky (1-7), 38-17: FIU was a mere 3-point road favorite but the ButchCats rolled to a huge, bowl-assuring victory.

Off this week: No. 10 UCF (7-0); next vs. Temple Thursday Nov. 1.

Week 9 national Top 25 matchups (3): No. 9 Florida vs. No. 7 Georgia (see above); 17-Penn State beats 18-Iowa 30-24; and 14-Washington State beats 24-Stanford 41-38.

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

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

Twitter @gregcote

October 27, 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

2018 DSM game-by-game results

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Twitter @gregcote

October 23, 2018

Dolfan Satisfacton Meter: 8.9%; plus defense fails Miami in 32-21 loss to Detroit; also, Wade column off home-opening Heat loss, latest Hot Button Top 10 (updated), your Perry vs. Rosier verdict & more

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

1) It's MONDAY, OCTOBER 22. Football season means it's the right time to delight Dolfans you know with our 'Fins At 50' book. Check it out on Amazon. 2) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Hurricanes bye-week to-do list with Perry vs. Rosier poll, Heat home opener, other state Collball & more. 3) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook and Instagram.

On Dolphins' defensive collapse: Oh let us count all the ways the Dolphins defense embarrassed itself at home Sunday in the 32-21 loss to Detroit. To peruse my column from the stadium, visit: When the Dolphins D Was A Letter Grade. 

Wade shines in Heat rally, but Miami loses home opener: Heat trailed by 26, fought back but lost 113-112 in Saturday's home opener behind Dwyane Wade's 21 points to begin his "Last Dance" season. For my column: Wade Reminds Us Why We'll Miss Him.

Select other recent columns: Dolphins Are Fun For A Change, and Playoff-GoodNo More Excuses, Florida PanthersTannehill: Requiem For A Quarterback. And With All D.Wade Has Meant, One Year to Say Goodbye Might Not Be Enough.

DOLFAN SATISFACTION METER: G7: 8.9%: Results are certified in the latest Dolfan Satisfaction Meter postgame poll, and they show 8.9 percent overall approval -- the combination of "very"
Dsmand "somewhat" satisfied votes -- in the wake of Sunday's 32-21 Dolphins home loss to Detroit putting Miami's season record 4-3. The DSM is a continuous weekly gauge of how Dolfans are feeling about the team and its direction. Right after each game I invite you to share your overall degree of satisfaction. Criteria for voting is your own, but I suggest fans consider the most recent game's performance and caliber of opponent, season as a whole, direction the club is heading and your overall degree of optimism -- all in the context of reasonable expectations. Results are certified official the morning after one full day of voting. In this case that was around 7 a.m. today/Tuesday. (The DSM also takes place on our Twitter site @gregcote. The approval rate there was 25 percent).

2018 DSM game-by-game results

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Next poll: Oct. 25 following game at Houston.

G7: DETROIT 32, @DOLPHINS 21: 'MR. BROCKTOBER' CONTINUED TO SHINE. IT WAS FINS' DEFENSE THAT STUNKPostgame thoughts: For my full game column: When the Dolphins D Was A Letter Grade. How clear the blame for this loss. It isn't on Brock Osweiler. He was great. Even betgter than last week. This was on the defense. Period and unequivocally. Miami could not stop Matthew Stafford or the Detroit passing game,and could not stop Kerryon Johnson or the Lions ground game. The Fins defense got beaten all day, from the very first play. Miami now 4-3 and sure to be a huge underdog this Thursday night in Houston. That 3-0 start seems a long time ago now. ..... Halftime thoughts: Could Miami's defense be any worse? How are the Fins only down by 10 at 17-7? Matthew Stafford has a near-perfect 140.9 passer rating. Lions backs are one yard shy of averaging 10 yards per carry (14-139). Offensively, Brock Osweiler has been solid (11-13, 103 yards, one TD) but there is zero space for any sort of ground game. The 10-point deficit feels unusually big .....Original post: Dolphins are 4-2 including 3-0 at home, Lions arrive 2-3 and yet Detroit is a 2 1/2-point betting favorite for DetmiaSunday's 1 p.m. kickoff. Not sure I get that. Did you notice how the Bears were wheezing late in last week’s game like me after five flights of stairs? What, you thought it might be an ankle injury or mighty Dolphins blocking that made Khalil Mack disappear? Welcome to 1 o’clock games in hot, humid Miami. And now here come the Lions, from the mild temps of their home dome into the Hades-on-Earth that is South Florida — conditions the Dolphins practice in. Miami has scored 46 points in the fourth quarter of its three home games, because opposing defenses are wilting like week-old roses by then. Did I mention Detroit is 0-2 on the road? I rarely factor heat as favoring either team, but it’s something tangible here this time of year. It makes Miami too tempting a home ‘dog to pass by. Yes, Ryan Tannehill out again (shoulder) and Brock Osweiler in again concerns me. Don’t delude yourself that Osweiler is as good. Then again Miami’s offense was electric last week with Osweiler — the Wizard Of Os, Mr. Brocktober — and the Lions’ defense isn’t as good as Chicago’s. Motown allows 27.4 points per game and is especially generous against the run, inviting a big day by Frank Gore/Kenyan Drake. (Lions worked out Gore in free agency this summer but said no-thanks, so Frank will be extra-pumped Sunday). Could be looking at a shootout. Some of that is Matthew Stafford. And some of it is the heat/humidity toll on the visitors. Give me the game-changing speed of Albert Wilson, Jakeem Grant and Kenny Stills over a bunch of sweating, sagging defenders Almost forgot: Detroit’s offensive coordinator is named "Jim Bob Cooter," if you needed one more reason to like the Fins. Upset! My pick: Dolphins, 27-23.

Visit Week 7 Gems for all of our latest FL picks.

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

Hotbutton1. HEAT: Home-opening loss caps Opening Week: After a 1-1 split on the road Miami was awful (trailed by 26) and brilliant (rallied heroically) in its home opener Saturday before falling to Charlotte, 113-112. Dwyane Wade had a team-high 21 points to begin his "Last Dance" season before the home fans. He's not as good as he once was, but he's as good, once, as he ever was.

2. DOLPHINS: Miami falls to Detroit in defensive collapse: The Dolphins and fill-in QB Brock Osweiler were pretty brilliant in beating Chicago last week. Osweiler was solid again Sunday vs. Detroit. The rest of the Dolphins, not so much in a 32-21 home loss.

3. MARLINS: Fish reel in major double-signing of Cuban brothers: Fish on Monday will formally announce the signing of highly regarded Cuban outfield brothers Victor Victor Mesa, 22, and kid bro Victor Mesa Jr., 17. Yes, the more MLB-ready of the two Mesas is named Victor Victor. I guess among the many things in short supply in Cuba are middle names!

4. MLB: It's a Red Sox-Dodgers World Series!: The rested Boston Red Sox will meet Saturday's Game 7-winning Los Angeles Dodgers in the World Series beginning Tuesday night at Fenway Park. Sox have won more recently, but hard-to-like L.A. is led by mouthy Yasiel Puig and dirty Manny Machado. Lesser of two evils, anyone?

5. HURRICANES: UM on bye, preps for Boston College trip: Canes are enjoying an off-week. Although "enjoying" may not be the right word, coming off a bad loss at Virginia, preparing for a dangerous game at Boston College and stuck in a waffling QB situation. It's back to Malik Rosier ... for now.

6. PANTHERS: Cats finally win after 0-4 start: Florida has now played six games in the new NHL season and lost five after last night's 4-3 overtime home loss to a bad Detroit team. The Panthers wanted a fast start. What they've gotten is a fall into frigid water through thin, cracked ice.

7. COLLEGE FOOTBALL: Ohio State loss shakes things up: The first College Football Playoff ranking is due out Oct. 30. And with Saturday's loss by No. 2 Ohio State (don't we all feel bad for Urban!?), all that's assured as of now is Alabama, Ohio State and Clemson in the coveted top four, and UCF moaning and complaining to whomever will listen.

8. FIU: ButchCats continue strong season: FIU is 5-2 with last night's 36-17 home win over Rice. Remember how last season FAU's Lane Kiffin was Wonder Boy in overshadowing FIU's Butch Davis in the rivals' battle of new coaches? The ButchCats have flipped the script.

9. RAE CARRUTH: Imprisoned NFL'er set for release: Former Carolina Panthers player Rae Carruth is scheduled to become a free man Monday after nearly 19 years behind bars for a 1999 conviction for planning the murder of his pregnant girlfriend. Odds he'll find work before Colin Kaepernick?

10. NASCAR: Vrooom! Homestead finale getting close: Sunday's race at Kansas means only three races are left before the season-ending Nov. 18 grand championship at Homestead-Miami Motor Speedway. Gentlemen, start your engines three more times ... and then start 'em for real. 

Missing the HB10 cut: Admit it. You're a little bit delighted at LeBron James' Lakers are 0-2 ..... Update: Countdown now 2,801 days (give or take) until Miami hosts its first match in the 2026 World Cup.

POLL RESULT: YOU WANT PERRY OVER ROSIER AS CANES QB: We asked, "Who would you prefer to see as the Hurricanes' starting quarterback the rest of this season?" And you had it N'Losi Perry over Malik Rosier just over a 2-to-1 margin -- 68.82 percent to 31.18%.

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

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Twitter @gregcote