January 22, 2019

Rams-Patriots Super Bowl: Twin polls. Who you WANT to win, who you think WILL win. Last day to vote!; plus we're all cheated by blown non-call, not just Saints (new column); also, Radio Tuesday, latest Hot Button Top 10 & more

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

Mlk1) It's TUESDAY, JANUARY 22. It was Martin Luther King Jr. Day in America on Monday. "I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character." 2) Football is at its crescendo and so it's the perfect time to delight Dolfans you know with the (late) gift of our 'Fins At 50' book. Check it out on Amazon. 2) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): NFL Championship Game picks, analyzing Hurricanes' soft 2019 football schedule & more. 3) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook and Instagram.

It's Radio Tuesday!: I'm back in-studio today for my regular Tuesday co-host spot on the Dan Le Batard Show With Stugotz. It airs 10-1 nationally on ESPN Radio affiliates and ESPNews, after a local-only 9-10 hour on Miami's 790 The Ticket. Join us!

Latest column: That late blown call robbed more than must the Saints: It robbed football fans of a Tom Brady vs. Drew Brees "Two Old G.O.A.T.s" classic, it robbed the NFL of its integrity and it robbed this Super Bowl of its legitimacy. To read our latest column, visit We All Got Cheated, Not Just Saints.

Other most recent columns: This Is Offseason for Dolphins to Be Bold, Not Think Tanking / Blueprint For Dolphins Is Right In Front Of Them / Kooch Never Made Canton But Helped Make Dolphins History / A Better Coach Isn't Dolphins' Biggest Need / From Dark and Empty to the Top Of the World: Dan Le Batard at 50 / Hurricanes' Wild Ride From Chaos to Calm / Wade Deserves All-Star Sendoff / The Dolphins Seem Desperate, And It's About Time / Getting Diaz Back The Perfect Fit For UM / Richt Can Call It Retirement, But He Just Quit On The Canes / Miami's Hate-Hate Relationship With Nick Saban.

SbowlRAMS-PATRIOTS IN SUPER BOWL 53: WHO YOU WANT TO WIN, WHO WILL WIN: Las Vegas sportsbooks have set New England as a slight 1 1/2-point favorite over the L.A. Rams in the Feb. 3 Super Bowl in Atlanta. These polls are asking you who you want to win -- who you hope does -- versus who you you think will win, or who'd you'd bet on to win outright. It's heart vs. head. Maybe you'll vote both polls the same way, maybe you won't. Let's see. Vote now in both polls.

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

Hotbutton1. NFL: It's a Rams-Patriots Super Bowl!: Rams upset Saints joust for the NFC crown and then Patriots upset Chiefs for the AFC title in conference championship games Sunday. Would have/should have been a Two Old G.O.A.T.s Super Bowl -- Tom Brady, 41, vs. Drew Brees, 40 -- but an official's missed call screwed New Orleans. Home teams had won 10 straight conference championship games before both home teams lost Sunday.

2. HURRICANES: UM loses out on transfer QB, sets '19 schedule: They hired the Alabama quarterbacks coach as their new offensive coordinator. It wasn't enough. The Canes lost transfer-QB Jalen Hurts to Oklahoma, anyway. The good news for UM football? The 2019 schedule is out and, with only one ranked opponent, it looks like it came together in one of Manny Diaz's sweet dreams.

3. HEAT: Wade hits 14 off bench in his final game in hometown of Chicago: Miami is even again at .500 (22-22) after last night's win in Chicago, after which Dwyane Wade (newly turned 37) swapped jerseys with the Bulls' mascot, Benny. OK so it's only midseason and we're running out of jersey-swap recipients? Wade scored 14 off bench in his final game in his hometown. Meantime Dion Waiters got fined for publicly complaining about playing time. Um, would that be the same guy who was dead weight as he took, like, two seasons to get over an ankle injury?

4. UM BASKETBALL: Larranaga pleads for Hernandez eligibility: Canes men fell to 9-8 and 1-4 in ACC with Saturday's loss to No. 13 North Carolina. (At least UM women are percolating at 15-4/3-1). NCAA continues to rule Dewan Hernandez ineligible even with Jim Larranaga's impassioned argument that Hernandez was "duped" by his AAU coach.

5. TENNIS: Aussie Open getting good at midpoint: Two-time defending Australia Open champ Roger Federer was upset Sunday by young Greek Stafanos Tsitsipas, and on Monday, Serena Williams continued her search for women's majors record by ousting world No. 1 Simona Halep. We're heating up in Melbourne!

6. DOLPHINS: Fins still waiting on Patriots for new coach hire: Could have happen with Patriots losing last night; instead, Miami will now have to wait until after the Super Bowl to hire New England linebackers coach Brian Flores as their new head coach. Unless everybody has this wrong. Which would be sort of hilarious.

7. PANTHERS: Finally! Cats end 7-game skid: The wildly erratic, roller-coaster-y Panthers are 19-28 after two straight wins that followed a seven-game losing skid. Now comes a five-game homestand starting Monday vs. San Jose, and where that leads, nobody knows. 

8. MARLINS: Fish set spring dates, unveil golf: Miami will commence Season 2 of the Derek Jeter era on Feb. 13 (pitchers and catchers) and Feb. 18 (full squad). Meanwhile there's a temporary 9-hole golf course set up at the ballpark. How about instead of nine holes of golf the Marlins give us  nine innings of winning baseball?

9. BOXING: Pacquiao wins, seeks Mayweather rematch: Manny Pacquiao won his first match since turning 40 Saturday night in Las Vegas, beating Adrien Broner unanimously, and now is seeking a rematch with Floyd Mayweather Jr. Fight fans around the world responded by saying, "NOOOOO!"

10. CANES BASEBALL: DiMare era on deck for UM: UM baseball season rolls out Feb. 8 with the First Pitch Banquet, Feb. 9 with the Alumni Game, then Feb. 15-17 with opening weekend vs. Rutgers. With coach Jim Morris retired after 25 seasons, it's Gino DiMare time!

Missing the HB10 cut: The annual college Senior Bowl is in six days, answering the question: "Wait. Guys still sometimes play their senior year!?" ..... Update: Countdown now 2,710 days (give or take) until Miami hosts its first match in the 2026 World Cup.

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

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

Twitter @gregcote

January 19, 2019

Our AFC, NFC Championship Game picks: 2 old G.O.A.T.s are trying to reach Super Bowl. Only 1 will; plus Canes' 2019 football schedule looks like Manny Diaz dreamed it, happy birthday D.Wade, why Dolphins' 'Tank for '20' plan is risky & more

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

Dwhappybday1) It's SATURDAY, JANUARY 19. Happy birthday Dwyane Wade as Heat star turned 37 this week. He's Miami sports' all-time G.O.A.T. Or co-G.O.A.T. with Dan Marino, if you insist. 2) Visit Greg Cote Tuesday for the best-of podcast from this week's Le Batard Show. 3) Football is at its crescendo and the holidays are upon us. That means it's the perfect time to delight Dolfans you know with the (late) gift of our 'Fins At 50' book. Check it out on Amazon. 4) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Hot Button Top 10, how we did on NFL Divisional-Round picks & more. 5) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook and Instagram.

Newest column: Why Dolphins' supposed 'Tank for '20' strategy is dumb and risky: To read our latest column, visit This Is Offseason for Dolphins to Be Bold, Not Think Tanking.

Our other most recent columns: Blueprint For Dolphins Is Right In Front Of Them / Kooch Never Made Canton But Helped Make Dolphins History / A Better Coach Isn't Dolphins' Biggest Need. Also: From Dark and Empty to the Top Of the World: Dan Le Batard at 50 / Hurricanes' Wild Ride From Chaos to Calm / Wade Deserves All-Star Sendoff / The Dolphins Seem Desperate, And It's About Time / Getting Diaz Back The Perfect Fit For UM / Richt Can Call It Retirement, But He Just Quit On The Canes / Miami's Hate-Hate Relationship With Nick Saban.

PicksNFL PLAYOFF PICKS / CHAMPIONSHIP GAMES: AND THE SUPER BOWL MATCHUP IS...: It's Rams-at-Saints and then Patriots-at-Chiefs on Sunday in play-in games for the Super Bowl. It's the first time in the SB era the league's four highest-scoring offenses have made the final four. Also only the eighth time in the 29 years of the current playoff format that both conference title games are No. 1 vs. 2 seeds. Oh, yeah: And two old G.O.A.T.s -- 40-something QBs Tom Brady and Drew Brees -- are trying to make it. Will both make it? Just one? Neither? Sunday should be a ratings bonanza for the NFL. For our Championship Sunday preview and predictions, visit Championship Round Gems.

MdiazANALYZING 2019 HURRICANES FOOTBALL SCHEDULE: MANNY DIAZ SHOULD BE SMILING: The Miami Hurricanes' 2019 football schedule, revealed yesterday, starts big and tough, vs. the Florida Gators in Orlando, but then turns soft. And stays that way. And for openers, Florida in-state is not as daunting a Game 1 as LSU was this past season in Arlington, Tex. Florida, 10-3 last season, is the only '19 UM foe ranked in the final 2018 polls. Miami's other 11 opponents were a combined 62-76 last season. Florida, in fact, may be the only game in which UM is the betting underdog. The schedule is such that the Canes wull have a big shot at padding the record and being ranked if they can find a way to beat the Gators. Miami's schedule also is favorable from a travel standpoint. UM plays five straight home games (Games 3 through 7) and -- because three of its road games are in Orlando, Tallahassee and at Marlins Park -- the Canes will travel out of state only three times all season. "Win%" below is our estimation of likelihood Miami will win, based on game's expected point spread. It sets up as a very favorable schedule for first-year coach Manny Diaz. Presuming he finds a good quarterback, of course.

Date       Opponent                    2018   Most recent meeting   Win%

Aug 31    Florida                        10-3   Won 21-16 (2013)        45%

Sep 7      @ North Carolina           2-9   Won 47-10                   70%

Sep 14    Bethune-Cookman         7-5   Won 45-14 (2011)         99%

Sep 21    Central Michigan           1-11  First meeting              99%  

Oct 5     Virginia Tech                 6-7    Won 38-14                   70%

Oct 11    Virginia                         8-5    Lost 16-13                  65%

Oct 19   Georgia Tech                 7-6    Lost 27-21                   65%

Oct 26   @ Pittsburgh                 7-7    Won 24-3                     60%

Nov 2    @ Florida State              5-7    Won 28-27                   55%

Nov 9    Louisville                      2-10   Lost 31-13 (2014)         70%

Nov 23   FIU                              9-4    Won 31-17                    90%

Nov 30   @ Duke                        8-5    Lost 20-12                    55%

Notes: All most recent meetings were last season except as noted. Florida opener is neutral-site game in Orlando. Virginia game is a Friday; all others are Saturday. FIU game is being play at Marlins Park.

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

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

Twitter @gregcote

January 16, 2019

An overarching lesson for Dolphins in NFL's final four -- on how they got there, why they win. Newest column; plus R.I.P. Bob Kuechenberg, Hot Button Top 10 (updated), how we did on our NFL Divisional-Round picks & more

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

1) It's WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 16. Visit Greg Cote Tuesday for the best-of podcast from yesterday's Le Batard Show. 2) Football is at its crescendo and the holidays are upon us. That means it's the perfect time to delight Dolfans you know with the (late) gift of our 'Fins At 50' book. Check it out on Amazon. 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): NFL Divisional-Round Playoff Picks & more. 4) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook and Instagram.

Latest column: The lesson for Dolphins in NFL's final four: The Chiefs, Patriots, Saints and Rams have something in common. It should be obvious to the Miami Dolphins and anybody else trying to get from here to really good. To read my latest column, visit Blueprint For Dolphins Is Right In Front Of Them.

Our other most recent columns: Kooch Never Made Canton But Helped Make Dolphins History / A Better Coach Isn't Dolphins' Biggest Need. Also: From Dark and Empty to the Top Of the World: Dan Le Batard at 50 / Hurricanes' Wild Ride From Chaos to Calm / Wade Deserves All-Star Sendoff / The Dolphins Seem Desperate, And It's About Time / Getting Diaz Back The Perfect Fit For UM / Richt Can Call It Retirement, But He Just Quit On The Canes / Miami's Hate-Hate Relationship With Nick Saban.

PicksNFL PLAYOFF PICKS / DIVISIONAL-ROUND (UPDATED): HOW WE DID IN WINNOW TO FINAL FOUR: We went 3-1 overall but only 1-3 against the spread on our weekend Divisional-Round playoff picks, with the Saints and Cowboys narrowly failing to cover for us. Our gambling that the Colts would upset Chiefs -- that was just a plain misfire. A bad one. For the whole playoffs we're now 5-3 overall and 3-5 ATS following a magical, record-setting regular season with our NFL picks (.705 winning percentage straight-up, .582 against the spread). Visit NFL Divisional-Round Gems for all of our past weekend's picks.

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

Hotbutton1. HURRICANES: Will new OC from 'Bama mean Jalen Hurts, too?: Hmm, well this is interesting! Manny Diaz hires Alabama quarterbacks coach Dan Enos to be the Canes' new offensive coordinator, and now it seems the Tide's transfer-minded QB Jalen Hurts may follow. As two-for-one package deals go, that's a goody!

2. DOLPHINS: Fins coach-search has eye on New England: Miami' search to replace fired Adam Gase (now deliciously with the Jets) has zeroed in on Patriots linebackers coach defensive play-caller Brian Flores, according to most every professional guesser. Motto: "If You Can't Beat Bill Belichick, At Least Steal One of His Top Assistants."

3. HEAT: Big loss cools heating-up Heat: They're still a modest 21-21, but Miami had won two straight and 10 of its past 14 before last night's blowout loss in Milwaukee to open a four-game road trip. Good news: Now sixth in the East. Bad news: Still a long climb to fourth.

4. NFL: And the Final Four is set!: It'll be Patriots at Chiefs and Rams at Saints in the AFC and NFC championship games next week -- the play-in to the Super Bowl. Kansas City an New Orleans both were token 3-point home favorites as betting lines opened.

5. PANTHERS: Coach in peril as skid reaches 7 games?: Florida had won six of previous eight games but now has plunged to seven straight losses and is 17-28 and way off playoff pace. Coach Bob Boughner's job has to be on thin ice. Doesn't it!? 

6. BOB KUECHENBERG: All-time great Dolphins guard dies: The Miami Dolphins family lost "Kooch" Saturday night at 71, cause of death not yet revealed. A two-time Super Bowl champ in a career that spanned 1970-84, his 196 games played for the club were more than all but Dan Marino and Jason Taylor.

7. UM BASKETBALL: Canes men need answers, fast: While the UM women are sailing at 14-4 and just outside the Top 25, the Canes men are 9-7 after a 5-0 start -- and now face ranked opponents in five of their next seven games. Got any answers, Jim Larranaga? 

8. TENNIS: Murray out quick as Aussie Open begins: Andy Murray says he is retiring and that the Australian Open now underway (from which he quickly lost Sunday) could be his last. No offense, but after missing most of the past 18 month battling various injuries, I thought Murray already was retired.

9. TIM TEBOW: He proposes marriage, she says yes!: The former football quarterback turned baseball minor-leaguer asked Demi-Leigh Nel-Peters, Miss Universe 2017, to marry him, and she said yes. Not sure why this is news. But it is.

10. ROB GRONKOWSKI: Patriots tight ends mulling retirement: Is that still news? Gronk's prime retired about two years ago.

Missing the HB10 cut: Update: Countdown now 2,717 days (give or take) until Miami hosts its first match in the 2026 World Cup.

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

Twitter @gregcote

January 10, 2019

Why a better coach isn't Dolphins' biggest need. My new column; plus here's your verdict on biggest Miami sports story of 2018, our LeBatard and Canes Chaos-to-Calm columns, new Back In My Day (Dating Sites!) & more

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

Uswed1) It's THURSDAY, JANUARY 10. Happy Anniversary to my wife! She is the greatest person I know, and I'm not even kidding. It's our wedding day at right. Awful photo, great day. 2) Visit Greg Cote Tuesday for the best-of podcast from yesterday's LeBatard Show on ESPN Radio. The new Back In May Day (Dating Sites!) coughs in around the 52-minute mark. 3) Football is at its crescendo and the holidays are upon us. That means it's the perfect time to delight Dolfans you know with the (late) gift of our 'Fins At 50' book. Check it out on Amazon. 4) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Biggest Miami sports story of 2018 poll, your biggest-national-story verdict, Hot Button Top 10 & more. 5) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook and Instagram.

New column: On Dolphins coach-search, then what's really important: Miami is trying to find a new coach who may or may not be bettre than Ada, Gase. That's fine. But a bigger, more important decision looms after that. For my newest column, visit A Better Coach Isn't Dolphins' Biggest Need.

The Le Batard profile, Canes' Chaos-to-Calm columns: Visit From Dark and Empty to the Top Of the World: Dan Le Batard at 50 for an unusually personal column by me. And UM athletic director Blake James talks about the day when Canes football went from upheaval to the calm of continuity within hours. Visit Hurricanes' Wild Ride From Chaos to Calm. Other recent columns: Wade Deserves All-Star Sendoff / The Dolphins Seem Desperate, And It's About Time / Getting Diaz Back The Perfect Fit For UM / Richt Can Call It Retirement, But He Just Quit On The Canes / Miami's Hate-Hate Relationship With Nick Saban.

YOUR VERDICT ON MIAMI/SOUTH FLORIDA'S BIGGEST SPORTS STORY OF 2018!: This was our third year doing this. In 2016 you voted the tragic death of Jose Fernandez the biggest local story of the year, and for 2017 it was the Hurricanes' Turnover Chain-fueled surge to UM's first 10-win season in 14 years. Would the vote to name the biggest local story of 2018 be tougher, and closer? You decided. We gave you a roughly alphabetical list of our top 20 finalists, invited you to select your top six, and from that consensus came your verdict. More than 1,400 votes were cast, and here are your top five Miami sports stories of 2018, with my comment:

Diazreturns1. Richt resigns after 7-6 season; UM lures back Diaz from Temple -- 22.74%: Year-end bombshell that rocked Canes was an unsurprising winner. 

2. Inter Miami expansion MLS team wins stadium vote -- 15.21%: Hmm. This was running in 5% range but spiked due to organized rally by Inter Miami fans.
 
3. 'Miami Miracle' stuns Patriots on 69-yard trick play to end game -- 12.08%: Rare a single play would be so big, but this was an exception.
 
4. Wade re-signs with Heat for 'Last Dance' farewell season -- 9.81%: Thought this had a shot to compete for title.
 
 
Rounding out the top 10: Marlins trade Yelich, who wins MVP for Milwaukee 3.91%; Jeter's 1st year as Marlins CEO ends with NL-worst record 3.77%; Miami among sites as U.S. wins joint bid to host 2026 World Cup; Wayne Huizenga, Marlins/Panthers founder, ex-Dolphins owner, dies 3.26%; and Local teams rally, lend support after Majory Stoneman Douglas tragedy 3.06%.
 
Ranking 11th through 15th: Miami Open tennis leaves Key Biscayne for Hard Rock Stadium 2.77%; Dolphins part with Landry, Suh, Pouncey 2.70%; FIU wins bowl for school-record 9-win season 2.49%; Jim Morris retires after 25 years as Canes baseball coach 2.35%; and Serena Williams returns from pregnancy, reaches 2 Grand Slam finals 1.92%.
 
The bottom feeders: Tannehill returns from injuries, ends year with Dolphins future in doubt 0.85: Miamian Carlos Cordeiro elected president of U.S. Soccer 0.71%; UM men's basketball implicated, cleared in national FBI recruiting probe 0.50%; Joey Logano wins NASCAR season title at Homestead 0.43%; and Alabama wins Orange Bowl/CFP semifinal 0.28%.
 

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

Twitter @gregcote

January 08, 2019

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

VOTE FOR YOUR TOP SIX (6)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Twitter @gregcote

December 29, 2018

Canesfan Satisfaction Meter: 11.2% (season final). Ouch. CSM bottoms out at lowest total since '14; plus UM falls to Wisconsin in bowl, 35-3, with no offense, 5 turnovers, awful run-D; also, NFL Week 17 picks, Beckham carves a turkey & more

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

1) It's FRIDAY, DECEMBER 28. If you missed it, visit MERRY CHRISTMAS 2018 to watch out annual holiday video. It's ho-ho-horrible! 2) Football is nearing its crescendo and the holidays are upon us. That means it's the perfect time to delight Dolfans you know with the (late) gift of our 'Fins At 50' book. Check it out on Amazon. 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Annual Christmas video, Dolphins award winners, Herald NFL QB rankings, Pix 'n Fantasy results & more. 4) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook and Instagram.

On the 'Debacle of the Disappearing Dolphins': The Grinch stole the playoffs in this past Sunday's 17-7 Dolphins home loss to Jacksonville. But did he also steal Ryan Tannehill's Fins future and Adam Gase's job? I explore in my most column. Visit End Of Hope For Dolphins. For Tannehill, Gase, too?

CsmCANESFAN SATISFACTION METER: BOWL/FINAL SEASON: 11.2%: Results are certified in the latest -- and season-ending -- Canesfan Satisfaction Meter postgame poll, and they show a final approval rating of 11.2 percent -- the combination of "very" and "somewhat" satisfied votes -- in the wake of Thursday night's 35-3 loss to Wisconsin in the Pinstripe Bowl in New York, leaving Miami's final season record at 7-6. It's the lowest season rating since 2014. The CSM, completing its 10th season, 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. Because this was the season's final poll, I urged you to please consider placing special emphasis on the season as a whole. Results are certified official the morning after one full day of voting. In this case that was around 11 a.m. today/Saturday. (The CSM also takes place on my Twitter site @gregcote. The approval rating there was 24%).

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: 50.0% following 38-14 victory at Virginia Tech.

G12: 32.7% following 24-3 victory vs. Pitt.

G13/Bowl: 11.2% following 35-3 Pinstripe Bowl loss to Wisconsin.

CSM year-by-year final season results: 2018--11.2% (following 7-6 season including bowl loss); 2017--68.4% (10-3). 2016--97.2% (9-4); 2015--20.1% (8-5); 2014--2.7% (6-7); 2013--16.1% (9-4); 2012--80.9% (7-5); 2011--22.1% (6-6); 2010--4.2% (7-6); 2009--41.7% (9-4).

BOWL: WISCONSIN 35, HURRICANES 3: NO OFFENSE, 5 TURNOVERS, BAD RUN-D SPELL SAD END TO DISAPPOINTING YEAR: Final thoughts: Do not blame the Miami defense for this loss 35-3 loss. I know: 35 points. And I know: 333 yards rushing allowed, 205 by one player. But, no, it was five turnovers, including four interceptions, that killed UM, start to finish. It was an absolute nightmare game by Malik Rosier. UM now 1-8 in its past eight bowl games since 2008 ..... 4Q: Wisconsin 35-3 on 1-yard TD run ... Wisconsin 28-3 on 8-yard TD run following Perry INT ..... 3Q: Wisconsin 21-3 on 2-yard TD run following Rosier INT ... Halftime thoughts: Miami lucky to be trailing by only 14-3, after a very early 14-0 deficit suggested a blowout, three UM  turnovers and two badly missed Wisconsin field goal tries. It should be worse, in other words. Miami still is in it. But it's going to take a turnover-free second half, the Turnover Chain moving again on the Canes' side, and better play from Malik Rosier -- with his arm, not just his legs. That, or Jarren Williams. Just sayin' ..... 1Q: Miami 14-3 on 33-yard FG after Jaquan Johnson INT and Rosier 62-yard run ... Wisconsin 14-0 on 7-yard TD run following Rosier interception ... Wisconsin 7-0 on 35-yard opening-drive TD pass ..... Original post: A year ago these same two programs were ranked and meeting in the top-tier Orange Bowl game, a reward for big seasons. (Wisconsin beat Miami, 34-24). One year later, not so much. Now both teams are a disappointing 7-5 and it's the mid-level Pinstripe Bowl at PinbowlYankee Stadium in Da Bronx, a weak consolation to end the season. It is the middle game (5:15 kickoff) of three in a row Thursday on ESPN. The overarching theme in the buildup has been the capital-D distractions dogging Miami. First defensive coordinator Manny Diaz bolts to become Temple's head coach. Then came reports maturity-challenged quarterback N'Kosi Perry was in trouble again over a sexually explicit video he posted on Snapchat. But I don't see these as big negatives for UM because A) Although Diaz's departure hurt UM's recruiting and caused a disappointing early signing period this month, Diaz will coach Miami in the bowl, which could be an emotional rallying point for the defense; and B) Does it really matter that veteran Malik Rosier will (likely) start at QB instead of Perry? Not much if any is the correct answer. What does matter, though, is the absence of UM's best run stopper in Gerald Willis, who'll skip the bowl to rehab a hand injury. (The truth? I have little doubt he could play. The same injury hadn't kept him out before. But with the draft coming up he doesn't want to risk aggravating the injury). Other factors favor Miami. Temps in the 50s are forecast, so weather shouldn't be the negative it might have been for UM had it been freezing. I'd also guess Canes will enjoy more crowd support, considering half of New York have relatives living in South Florida. Beyond that I see Miami as slightly better overall, so it isn't surprising UM is favored by 3 points. It also isn't surprising the line is only 3, considering the Badgers have the nation's leading rusher in Jonathan Taylor. Both team's QB turmoil -- Jack Coan starts for Wisconsin because Alex Hornibrook, who blistered UM in last year's Orange Bowl, is out with concussion -- should be offsetting factors. But stopping Taylor will be a handful for Miami -- especially without Willis. A win by Wisconsin would not surprise even a little -- the upset risk is very high -- but I'm going to hunch Rosier leaves smiling from his final college game, and that UM's defense sends Diaz off a winner. My pick: Hurricanes, 24-20.

PicksNFL WEEK 17 PICKS: DOLPHINS-BILLS, GAME OF WEEK, UPSETS AND THE REST: You know I hate to brag, but The Magical Year of Cote rollicked on last week with a 15-1 record straight-up (our only miss the Dolphins!) and 9-7 against the spread. We're now at .710 overall and .588 ATS entering this final weekend of the regular season. Last week continued our run of Upset of the Week bull’s-eyes with Ravens winning at Chargers, and we nailed two other outright upsets with Seahawks over Chiefs and Raiders over Broncos. Also had a trio of ‘dogs-with-points covering in Redskins, Bengals and Giants. Now, ahead: Four Dolphins-Bills pick, Game of the Week, upsets and all the rest, visit Week  17 Gems for all of our latest selections.

Becksturkey"DEAR GREG...": "Your blog's OK but would be  much better if occasionally you would show a photo of Miami MLS boss David Beckham back home in England carving a Christmas turkey. Thank you.: Dear Reader: Great idea, but how am I gonna get such a picture?

Select other recent columns: Diaz Leaving Is Biggest Canes Loss Of Richt Era Tannehill's Litmus Test Is Pass or Fail / Oh What We Had, And What We Lost / Wade's World Bigger Than Hoops, And Good For Him / Honeymoon Over: How Collapsing Seasons Put Heat on Gase, Richt / NASCAR Needs A Next Big Thing / No More Excuses, Florida Panthers / To The Good-Guy Grinder In The Shades / Time to Flip the Old Narrative On Miami As a Sports Town / Can Riley Rescue Heat From Purgatory? / When 3 World Cup Legends Were Ours.

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

Twitter @gregcote

December 24, 2018

How satisfied are you with the Dolphins? Latest DSM postgame poll. Vote now!; plus embarrassing Fins lose 17-7 to Jax, end playoff hope. Gase, Tannehill on outs? My game column; plus newest Hot Button Top 10 (updated) & more

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

Ceve1) It's MONDAY, DECEMBER 24. Merry Christmas Eve! 2) Football is nearing its crescendo and the holidays are upon us. That means it's the perfect time to delight Dolfans you know with the gift of our 'Fins At 50' book. Check it out on Amazon. 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): NFL Weeek 16 picks, FIU wins Bahamas Bowl & more. 4) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook and Instagram.

Our 'Debacle of Disappearing Dolphins' column: The Grinch stole the playoffs in Sunday's dispiriting 17-7 Dolphins home loss to Jacksonville. But did he also steal Ryan Tannehill's Fins future and Adam Gase's job. I explore in my column from the stadium off the game. Visit End Of Hope For Dolphins. Of Tannehill, Gase, too? to read. Other most recent columns: Diaz Leaving Is Biggest Canes Loss Of Richt Era and How Miami-Based ESPN Star Dan LeBatard Is Growing His Empire Again.

DsmDOLFAN SATISFACTION METER: G15: Time again for the latest Dolfan Satisfaction Meter postgame poll, this in the wake of Sunday's 17-7 home loss to Jacksonville putting Miami's season record at 7-8 and eliminating the Fins from playoff contention. 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 will be around 8 a.m. Tuesday/Christmas morning. (The DSM also takes place on Twitter @gregcote. You may vote there now, too.

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.

G11: 4.1% following 27-24 loss at Indianapolis.

G12: 15.6% following 21-17 victory vs. Buffalo.

G13: 83.9% following 34-33 victory vs. New England.

G14: 6.5% following 41-17 loss at Minnesota.

G:15 Voting now underway following 17-7 loss vs. Jacksonville. 

G15: JACKSONVILLE 17, @DOLPHINS 7 (FINAL): PLAYOFF HOPE EXPIRES AS MIAMI CLOSES HOME SEASON: Final thoughts: An embarrassing loss by Miami, which had been 6-1 at home this season, to a Jags team that was one of the NFL's biggest disappointments. No excuses for playoff hope to officially expire in this manner. Read my column from the game HERE ..... 4Q: JAC 17-7 on Telvin Smith 32-yard return of Tannehill interception ... JAC 10-7 on 26-yard FG, first score of game since first quarter. It's pretty bad when three points feels like a big hole for Miami ... OK. Next score wins? ..... 3Q: Jags have 1st at Miami 17 after turnover, end up with 4th and 46 and punt. A lot of awfulness on display here ... Oh my. Miami's Bolden loses fumble at own 17. Ex-Cane Calais Campbell recovers ... Jalen Davis blitz-sack for Miami forces Jags punt ... Kessler back at QB for Jags to open second half ..... Halftime thoughts: One good drive by the Miami offense, one bad series by the defense and bunch of nothing about summarizes this 7-7 first half. Telling: Fins get ball at Jags 33 after fumble recovery and fail to score. This game is to close. You must beat a bad Jax team at home! ..... 2Q: Jags have 44-yard punt return but miss 55-yard FG on last play of half ... Wake 3rd-down sack forces punt after Bortles replaces shaken-up Kessler ... Fins' Branch recovers Kessler fumble at Jags 33 but Miami fails to take advantage, misses 47-yard FG ..... 1Q: JAC 7-7 on Fournette 1-yard TD run. Fins defense looked as bad that series as the offense looked good in taking the lead ... MIA 7-0 on Tannehill-Bolden 4-yard TD pass. Ends impressive 78-yard opening drive that includes completions of 20 to Amendola, 31 to Ballage ..... Pregame notes: Xavien Howard is among Miami's inactives. They'd hoped he'd play; instead he's out a third straight game ... Betting line has dipped from Miami favored by 4 to 3 1/2 ..... Original post: Jacksonville, one of the NFL's biggest disappointments, is 4-10. Miami is a standard still-mediocre disappointment at 7-7. Together they make a 1 p.m. Hard Rock kickoff that won't set ratings records for CBS as the Dolphins close their home season before next week's finale at Buffalo. Example No. 438 of how little faith there is Mia Jaxin Miami: The Dolphins are favored by a mere 4 points, or only one point above standard home-field advantage over a colossally disappointing Jacksonville team that has lost nine of its past 10 games. Oh, and that’s with the Jaguars 1-5 on the road while Fins are a stout 6-1 at home. And with Miami still fighting on the periphery of playoff contention while Jags are mentally headed to the first tee. An insult, this 4-point line! QB Blake Bortles was bad enough for Jax to bench him but Cody Kessler has been worse. By a lot. Kessler has led one touchdown drive in 31 possessions over three games since taking over, yet will start again. Ryan Tannehill is sure to look great Sunday if only in contrast to his counterpart’s epic putridity. That figures as Miami’s secret weapon today: The other team’s QB. Dolphins also expect to have top cornerback (and lone Pro Bowl pick) Xavien Howard back from injury. Jaguars’ only real hope is to feed Leonard Fournette enough carries to reduce chances of Kessler doing something dumb. As for my earlier putting "Miami" and "playoff contention" in the same sentence, the two technically fit although it’s win-out-and-pray for the Fins. Closing at Buffalo next week won’t be easy. Neither will getting sufficient help from a confluence of other results all falling just right. But beating Jax and Cody Kessler at home? This should be the easy part of what’s left. Call it a little consolation parting holiday gift from from the Dolphins to Dolfans in the season's home finale -- a little thank-you for enduring what is looking like yet another ultimately unfulfilling Miami season. My pick: Dolphins,24-13.

Visit Week 16 Gems for all of our latest NFL selections. Had a good Saturday. Called Ravens' upset at Chargers in a bull's-eye of an Upset of the Week ("Aawwk!"). Was perfect on Titans beating 'Skins until that last-second pick-six ruined us against the spread. Oh well. Them breaks work both ways.

HOT BUTTON TOP 10 (DECEMBER 23-24): 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: Miami ends home season sourly to end playoff hope: Miami playoff hopes were on life support entering the game. The plug was pulled with Ryan Tannehill's late pikc-six interception sealing Sunday's 17-7 home loss to lowly Jacksonville. Now, let the speculation about Ryan Tannehill and Adam Gase's futures begin!

2. HEAT: Hot Heat finally hitting their stride: Miami has won five in a row and nine of post 12 to surge onto playoff pace (current seventh seed) with Sunday's win in Orlando, as Josh Richardson and Hassan Whiteside do some heavy lifting. Heat has reached .500 at 16-16 and on Wednesday can top it for the first time since 3-2.

3. COLLEGE FOOTBALL: Five days' til CFP Orange Bowl semifinal: It'll be No. 1 Alabama vs. No. 4 Oklahoma in the Orange Bowl this coming Saturday -- the sexier of the two College Football Playoff semifinals. (Sorry, Clemson-Notre Dame). With the Dolphins and Canes a combined 14-13, it'll be a nice change to see excellence on the Hard Rock field for a change.

4. HURRICANES: Bowl Thursday, but latest Perry scandal dogs team: Miami faces Wisconsin in a Pinstripe Bowl duel of 7-5 teams Thursday at Yankees Stadium with Canes a shaky 3-point favorite. Shaky because QB N'Kosi Perry may not play after reports he's posted a sexually explicit video on social media. That would make it three such errors in judgement for Perry. Isn't there a phrase ... something about three strikes?

5. FIU: ButchCats triumph in Nassau, set record for wins: FIU's 35-32 winover Toledo in the Bahamas Bowl capped a 9-4 season to set a school record for wins. Dolphins and Canes disappointed, but at least one Miami team stood up.

6. RECRUITING: Early signing period not a winner for Canes: College football's early signing period Dec. 19-21 found Miami's incoming class ranked only 34th in nation by ESPN.com. A 7-5 season and sudden departure defensive boss Manny Diaz hurt. Ranked No.1 overall is Alabama. Or, did that go without saying?

7. PANTHERS: Signs of life at last for Cats!: It is now four wins in past five games for Florida and signs of life in a down-so-far season after last night's 6-3 win in Chicago. Cats still six points off playoff NHL pace,but finally climbing.

8. UM BASKETBALL: Canes women continue early excellence: Katie Meier's UM women are ranked No. 24 and 11-2 with five straight wins after impressing in the Florida Sunshine Classic with defeats of Vanderbilt and Alabama. Jim Larranaga's guys are more quietly at 7-4 as they ready for ACC schedule.

9. BASEBALL: Biggest winter deals still on hold: Free agents Bryce Harper and Manny Machado, and Marlins on-the-trading-block all-star catcher J.T. Realmuto are still out there and available with no deals struck. Hey, pitchers and catchers report in seven weeks. Tick tock.

10. DAVID SAMSON: Marlins ex-president, fans exchange unpleasantries: At a LeBatard Show "Mas Miami" event in Wynwood last weekend David Samson took the microphone to wish Dan a happy birthday, was roundly booed and responded by saying "F--- you" to  the crowd. Alrighty then!

Missing the HB10 cut: A New Jersey high-school wrestling official with a history of racist behavior forced a black competitor to cut his dreadlocks. What needs to be cut next: That official, from his job ..... Answer: Imprisoned-for-life Larry Nasser says his years of sexual abuse of female gymnasts should have been tried as a medical malpractice case. Question: What's the new and ultimate definition of "delusional"? ..... NFL suspends Josh Gordon. Again. The only good to come of it? Belichick and Brady are sad ..... Update: Countdown now 2,738 days (give or take) until Miami hosts its first match in the 2026 World Cup.

FiuMOMENTUM FOR FIU NICKNAME CHANGE?: In wake of Saturday's Bahamas Bowl victory giving FIU a 9-4 season and school-record for wins -- and two straight encouraging seasons under Butch Davis -- there is a move to change FIU's nickname from Panthers to ButchCats. Actually there is no such move. There is just me playfully suggesting it. I ran a Twitter poll, there were 734 votes, and ButchCats beat Panthers 2-to-1 -- 67 percent to 33%.

Select other recent columns: Miracle Ending in Miracle Season for Dolphins / Inside Lane on Road to Canton, Cooperstown / Tannehill's Litmus Test Is Pass or Fail / Oh What We Had, And What We Lost / Wade's World Bigger Than Hoops, And Good For Him / Honeymoon Over: How Collapsing Seasons Put Heat on Gase, Richt / NASCAR Needs A Next Big Thing / No More Excuses, Florida Panthers / Dolphins? Heat? Nope. UM Football Owns This Town / To The Good-Guy Grinder In The Shades / Time to Flip the Old Narrative On Miami As a Sports Town / Can Riley Rescue Heat From Purgatory? / When 3 World Cup Legends Were Ours.

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

Twitter @gregcote

December 18, 2018

Dolfan Satisfaction Meter: 6.5%; plus Sacked! Miami crushed 41-17 by Vikes, falls to 7-7, sees playoff hope go cold. With our postgame thoughts; also, latest Hot Button Top 10 (updated), Mas Miami & more

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

1) It's MONDAY, DECEMBER 17. Had a fun time at Saturday night's Le Batard Mas Miami event at The Wynwood Yard. Great to meet so many of you! 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 15 picks, you verdict on Diaz leaving Canes, our LeBatard scoop 2.0 & more. 4) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook and Instagram.

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

DsmDOLFAN SATISFACTION METER: G14: 6.5%: Results are certified in the latest Dolfan Satisfaction Meter postgame poll, and they show a sharp fall to 6.5 percent -- the combination of "very" and "somewhat" satisfied votes -- in the wake of Sunday's 41-17 loss at Minnesota putting Miami's season record at 7-7. 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 6:30 a.m. today/Tuesday. (The DSM also takes place on Twitter @gregcote. The vote there was 26%).

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.

G11: 4.1% following 27-24 loss at Indianapolis.

G12: 15.6% following 21-17 victory vs. Buffalo.

G13: 83.9% following 34-33 victory vs. New England.

G14: 6.5% following 41-17 loss at Minnesota.

Next poll: Dec. 23 following game vs. Jacksonville. 

G14: DOLPHINS AT MINNESOTA: CAN THE ROAD-WORRIER FINS BECOME ROAD WARRIORS?: Final thoughts: Three games in one. Miami falls behind 21-0 fast with worst first quarter of season. Miami scores 17 unanswered points to get back in it. Then the first-quarter bums return in an ultimate 41-17 loss that levels the Dolphins record at 7-7 and renders playoff hopes remote. Fins must win out for 9-7 and then get lucky with other teams losing and tiebreakers. Miami was equally bad on offense and defense Sunday. The offensive line gave up nine sacks (!) and Ryan Tannehill was lousy beyond that. The defense could not do anything right, especially against the run. Only two big plays -- Minkah Fitzpatrick's 50-yard pick-6 and a 75-yard Kalen Ballage scoring run -- kept it from being an even greater embarrassment. Miami has now lost 111 of its past 12 road games to put playoff hopes on life support ..... Original post: Miami's realistic playoff hopes hang in the balance of the question posed in the headline as the 7-6 MiaminDolphins visit the 6-6-1 Vikings Sunday at 1 p.m. on CBS, with the Fins sizable 7 1/2-point road underdogs. There is huge NFL Week 15 playoff impact here for your holiday season, with Minnesota presently hanging on to the sixth and last NFC seed and Miami in a mad scrum for the same final spot in the AFC. That makes it even on desperation, although Vikes’ sense of must-have may be magnified by losses in two straight games and three of past four. The pick here tilts simply and heavily on venue. It did last week in our calling the Dolphins’ home upset of New England, and it does to the other extreme here. Fins are 1-10 in past 11 road games, traveling about as well as a dead body in a trunk, while the Vikings are 10-2 in past dozen at home. I’m not a slave to trends, but not blind to ‘em either. See a big and needed home lift for a team that played Monday night and then kneejerk-fired its offensive coordinator. The change should mean better balance (more running, more Dalvin Cook), which in turn should open things up for Kirk Cousins, Adam Thielen and Stefon Diggs. Cousins infamously is 4-24 in his career vs. teams with a winning record, but this figures to be a lot to handle for a Fins defense likely without injured top CB Xavien Howard again. (He's officially "doubtful," which in NFL injury-speak almost always translates to  "out"). I also see Vikes’ D as better all-round than the Pats’. Having said all that, the betting line feels too big. Oddsmakers consistently have disrespected Miami and its competitiveness all season, and here’s the latest example. My pick: Vikings, 23-17.

Visit Week 15 Gems for all of our latest NFL picks.

HOT BUTTON TOP 10 (DECEMBER 16): 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. HURRICANES: Ouch. UM loses excellent DC Diaz to Temple: Not the holiday gift Mark Richt was looking for, losing defensive coordinator and father of the Turnover Chain Manny Diaz, who bolted to become Temple's head coach but will coach Canes' D a final time Dec. 27 in the Pinstripe Bowl vs. Wisconsin. Richt promoted two from his staff to be co-defensive coordinators. Might take three to replace Diaz.

2. DOLPHINS: Roadkill! Fins get crushed in Minnesota: Last week the "Miami Miracle" beat the Patriots and kept playoff hope alive. Sunday a more standard football miracle was required. That would be a team on a 1-10 skid in road games beating a team on a 10-2 roll at home with Miami as a big 7 1/2-point underdog. Didn't happen in a 41-17 defeat putting playoff hopes on life support.

3. HEAT: Miami wraps up 4-2 road trip: Heat banked a 4-2 road trip with Sunday might's win in New Orleans. One reason Miami is spinning wheels at 13-16 this season? Up and down Heat are yet to put together more than a two-game win streak. They'll got for three in a row in returning to action Thursday vs. Houston.

4. PANTHERS: As Cats continue to disappoint, is coach on thin ice?: Should coach Bob Boughner be worried? Cats beat Toronto in OT last night but still are only 12-19 in a season that has never quite taken off. Now Florida has four straight on road starting Tuesday.

5. FIU: Four days 'til ButchCats go bowling: It's FIU vs. Toledo in the Bahamas Bowl in Nassau this coming Friday afternoon. Not a big deal? It's on ESPN, FIU has chance for a school-record ninth win, and the conch fritters over there are to die for.

6. BASEBALL: Biggest deals still pending at winter meetings: No definitive news on Bryce Harper yet. Or Manny Machado. Or the Marlins' J.T. Realmuto. How about this: Wake me when one of those three guys is officially changing uniforms.

7. UM BASKETBALL: Women carrying banner thus far for Canes hoops: The 24th-ranked UM women are 9-2 after winning Sunday and now face Vanderbilt and Alabama in a December 20-21 holiday event in Winter Park, Fla. Meanwhile the 5-4 Canes men are back in action Wednesday trying to end a four-game losing streak and find answers before ACC games commence Jan. 3.

8. COLLEGE FOOTBALL: Bowl season is underway!: Six games on Saturday kicked off bowl season -- the three-week parade of 39 bowl games. Bulletin: If your team is not Alabama, Clemson, Notre Dame or Oklahoma, your bowl game is superfluous.

9. RECRUITING: Early signing period is this week: December 19-21 is the early signing period for top high-school football players choosing colleges. Imagine being National Signing Day in February and having your thunder stolen like that?

10. MAS MIAMI: LeBatard Show fans flock to Wynwood: Thousands of LeBatard Show fans partied at The Wynwood Yard last night in a Mas Miami event to celebrate Dan's 50th birthday, and Greg Cote isn't sure which was the higher number: Selfies taken, or drinks consumed.

Missing the HB10 cut: Update: Countdown now 2,745 days (give or take) until Miami hosts its first match in the 2026 World Cup.

Select other recent columns: Miracle Ending in Miracle Season for Dolphins / The Magic Saved Gase, And Made Fins the Toast of Town / Oklahoma, College Football Win the Day / Why A Canes Defender Snubbed by ACC Deserves All-America Honors / Inside Lane on Road to Canton, Cooperstown / Tannehill's Litmus Test Is Pass or Fail / Oh What We Had, And What We Lost / Wade's World Bigger Than Hoops, And Good For Him / Honeymoon Over: How Collapsing Seasons Put Heat on Gase, Richt / NASCAR Needs A Next Big Thing / No More Excuses, Florida Panthers / Dolphins? Heat? Nope. UM Football Owns This Town / To The Good-Guy Grinder In The Shades / Time to Flip the Old Narrative On Miami As a Sports Town / Can Riley Rescue Heat From Purgatory? / When 3 World Cup Legends Were Ours.

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

Twitter @gregcote

December 15, 2018

NFL Week 15 picks for Dolphins-Vikings and the rest; plus your overwhelming (!) verdict on Manny Diaz leaving Canes for Temple, our LeBatard scoop 2.0 & more

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

1) It's SATURDAY, DECEMBER 15. Remembering the victims of the Sandy Hook elementary school massacre. That might have been an ultimate call for gun-control sanity. How many massacres later are we still waiting? 2) Visit Greg Cote Tuesday for the best-of podcast from this week's Le Batard Show with me on ESPN Radio. Includes the latest Back In My Day (Impact Windows!). 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): Manny Diaz leaves Canes with poll, Herald NFL QB rankings, Pix 'n Fantasy results & more. 5) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook and Instagram.

PicksNFL WEEK 15 PICKS: DOLPHINS-VIKINGS, GAME OF WEEK, UPSETS AND THE REST: Our confetti-strewn season of NFL picks continues into Week 15 as carry a .694 winning percentage overall and .582 against the point spread, although those numbers dipped a couple of points last night with the Chargers' unforeseen upset in Kanasas City to start the week. Last week’s 12-4 mark straight-up and a scrambling 8-8 vs. the Evil Betting Line included yet another Upset of the Week bull's-eye with Dolphins stunning Patriots (“Aawwk!”), which I'd have had ATS even without the Miami Miracle finish. We also hit on two other outright upsets (Browns-Panthers, Bears-Rams), and had Raiders-with-points over Steelers, too. We move on with plans to hit the homestretch hard. Will Dolphins at Vikings be among our upset picks? Visit Week 15 Gems for all of our latest selections.

MannyPOLL RESULT: DIAZ LEAVING CANES IS 'MAJOR': The Hurricanes' excellent defensive coordinator Manny Diaz this week became head coach at Temple (Diaz is pictured being introduced). The headline of my latest column about says it all for my opinion; visit Diaz Leaving Is Biggest Canes Loss Of Richt Era to read. We offered a poll and most of you agreed with me. We asked, "How would you describe the impact of Diaz leaving on the Hurricanes football program and Richt?" The choices offered were Major, Medium and Minor. Your vote: 82.05 percent Major, 13.46% Medium and only 4.49% Minor.

DanlebON OUR LEBATARD SCOOP 2.0: It was the most-viewed story yesterday on all of Miami Herald.com and is doing brisk business again today. It's about Dan LeBatard's big new venture, and we revealed it (much to Dan's consternation) ahead of it being announced by ESPN or revealed on-air. If you missed it, visit How Miami-Based ESPN Star Dan LeBatard Is Growing His Empire Again. (Dan is pictured with his radio-show cohost Stugotz).

Select other recent columns: Miracle Ending in Miracle Season for Dolphins / The Magic Saved Gase, And Made Fins the Toast of Town / Oklahoma, College Football Win the Day / Why A Canes Defender Snubbed by ACC Deserves All-America Honors / Inside Lane on Road to Canton, Cooperstown / Tannehill's Litmus Test Is Pass or Fail / Oh What We Had, And What We Lost / Wade's World Bigger Than Hoops, And Good For Him / Honeymoon Over: How Collapsing Seasons Put Heat on Gase, Richt / NASCAR Needs A Next Big Thing / No More Excuses, Florida Panthers / Dolphins? Heat? Nope. UM Football Owns This Town / To The Good-Guy Grinder In The Shades / Time to Flip the Old Narrative On Miami As a Sports Town / Can Riley Rescue Heat From Purgatory? / When 3 World Cup Legends Were Ours.

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

Twitter @gregcote

December 12, 2018

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

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

1) It's WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 12. Visit Greg Cote Tuesday for the best-of podcast from yesterday's Le Batard Show on ESPN Radio. Includes the latest Back In My Day (Impact Windows!) late in the pod, at around the 58-minute mark. 2) Latest Dolfan Satisfaction Meter results are in, and they're best they've been since Week 3. See them here. 3) Football is raging and the holidays are upon us. That means it's the perfect time to delight Dolfans you know with the gift of our 'Fins At 50' book. Check it out on Amazon. 4) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Dolphins' miracle stuns Patriots with DSM poll, Hot Button Top 10, your Heisman verdict & more. 5) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook and Instagram.

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

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

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

DakpPRESCOTT TAKES WEEK, MAHOMES TAKES LEAD / MIAMI HERALD NFL QB RANKINGS / WEEK 14: The Cowboys' Dak Prescott (pictured) takes Week 14 honors with a big 60.75-point game -- third-highest of the season -- while Chief Patrick Mahomes leapfrogs Saint Drew Brees into the overall season lead in the Miami Herald's NFL quarterback rankings. It is only Mahomes' second week on top, following a brief stay in Week 9. Dolphins Ryan Tannehill enjoyed a big 36.25-point game (seventh-best of the week) but stays stalled in 29th place. Our rankings are cumulative, but with bye weeks finished the playing field has leveled for the stretch run. This is our 21st season of Passer Success System (PASS) NFL QB rankings. Our formula is simple and unchanged since its inception in 1998, factoring accuracy, yardage, TD-interception ratio and team result. Most major ranking systems such as the NFL's and ESPN's are complicated and percentile based, allowing QBs who miss half a season to still win a title, while our system is cumulative, rewarding players who are consistently productive and avoid injury or benching. The Top 25 table (plus Dolphins) entering Week 15:

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

1       2       Patrick Mahomes, KC           43.85         528.00

2       1       Drew Brees, NO                   32.05         522.15

3       3       Matt Ryan, ATL                    33.10         495.75

4       6       Ben Roethlisberger, PIT        41.10         479.35

5       4       Kirk Cousins, MIN                 20.40         478.40

6       7       Andrew Luck, IND                40.95         473.95

7       8       Philip Rivers, LAC                28.00         459.90

8       5       Jared Goff, LAR                  -7.00          431.70

9       9       Tom Brady, NE                    37.90         424.00

10     11     Aaron Rodgers, GB               30.80         397.50

11     10     Cam Newton, CAR               20.25         395.20

12     14     Derek Carr, OAK                  43.10         394.70

13     12     Eli Manning, NYG                 29.85         389.50

14     13     Deshaun Watson, HOU         32.35         384.90

15     18     Dak Prescott, DAL               60.75         378.50

16     16     Carson Wentz, PHI              32.40         377.70

17     17     Matthew Stafford, DET       17.05          357.35

18     15     Russell Wilson, SEA            5.60            356.40

19     19     Case Keenum, DEN            18.30          308.95

20     22     Baker Mayfield, CLE          33.90          303.85

21     20     Mitch Trubisky, CHI            6.50            296.95

22     21     Andy Dalton, CIN               DNP            270.30

23     23     Marcus Mariota, TEN          22.10          269.50

24     24     Joe Flacco, BAL                 DNP            246.25

25     25     Alex Smith, WAS                DNP            236.00

29     29     Ryan Tannehill, MIA           36.25          199.90

33     31     Brock Osweiler, MIA           DNP            126.35

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

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

Select other recent columns: Oklahoma, College Football Win the Day / Why A Canes Defender Snubbed by ACC Deserves All-America Honors / Inside Lane on Road to Canton, Cooperstown / Tannehill's Litmus Test Is Pass or Fail / Oh What We Had, And What We Lost / Wade's World Bigger Than Hoops, And Good For Him / Honeymoon Over: How Collapsing Seasons Put Heat on Gase, Richt / NASCAR Needs A Next Big Thing / No More Excuses, Florida Panthers / Dolphins? Heat? Nope. UM Football Owns This Town / To The Good-Guy Grinder In The Shades / Time to Flip the Old Narrative On Miami As a Sports Town / Can Riley Rescue Heat From Purgatory? / When 3 World Cup Legends Were Ours.

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

Twitter @gregcote