Greg Cote: As football season approaches, an appraisal of the local teams

07/28/2013 12:00 AM

07/28/2013 12:52 PM

July yielding to August means football season is rolling in fast, so let’s quickly summarize prospects for Miami’s three biggest teams, the Dolphins, UM and FIU.

DOLPHINS: What we have mostly learned so far in coach Joe Philbin’s second training camp is that center Mike “Free Hernandez” Pouncey has questionable taste in friends — and hats. What we have not yet learned is whether Ryan Tannehill will make the leap to stardom and lift his team from its recent mediocrity. Hopes seem high, but with Dolfans, that’s always relatively speaking.

HURRICANES: The good news is coach Al Golden in his third season appears to have a very strong team capable of winning the Atlantic Coast Conference, playing in a sizable bowl and returning UM closer to the once-accustomed perch of national prominence. The bad news is the dastardly NCAA still looms in the spoil-sport role it plays so well.

FIU: Tough times for first-year coach Ron Turner as the Panthers transition to Conference USA. The dismissal of top running back Kedrick Rhodes, arrested for “discharging a firearm” on campus, accentuated a betting over/under of three wins. Embarrassment took a different turn when several players disrobed at a public beach (Crandon Park), begetting a public apology from Turner.

Sadly, it remains a truism for FIU in the deep local football shadow of the Dolphins and Canes:

If your success on the field isn’t gaining you any attention, well, shooting a gun and public nudity remain reliable fallback options.

• Random Evidence is thrilled to be back after a one-week hiatus spent on vacation in Alaska, where activities included halibut fishing. I caught several fish prior to being thrown overboard by the captain for continually saying things like “that’s the halibut” and “just for the halibut.”

• The Marlins’ brighter future became evident as Jose Fernandez pitched a perfect inning in the All-Star Game and top outfield prospects Christian Yelich and Jake Marisnick were called up. What? What’s that? You say you prefer I poke fun at the club? Oh, OK.

• The Marlins recently wore 1956-era uniforms in a game. I found that appropriate, because the team usually has 1956-era player payrolls.
• The Marlins had a magician, Michael Grandinetti, performing during a recent game. Fans were disappointed, though, when he failed to make owner Jeffrey Loria disappear.
• Baseball’s Hall of Fame weekend culminates Sunday with the induction of three new members. Cooperstown visitors be warned, though: Not a great autograph opportunity, as all three inductees have been dead at least 70 years.
• The Heat opens its regular season Oct. 29 at home against Chicago. Um, you think you’ll be ready by then, Derrick Rose, or still not sure?
• Heat star LeBron James, newly named the NBA’s most popular player in a poll, will be on the cover of NBA 2K14 and also served as “music curator” for the video game. I’d guess the soundtrack will feature a lot of standards heavy on Sinatra, no?
• That reminds me. LeBron, in China this week on Nike business, had with him 24/7 a house DJ to spin music. Sure, because when one gets up at 3:42 a.m. to use the bathroom, one likes the accompaniment of strobe lights and a thumping bass line.
• One more indication LeBron is not like you or I: A recent party he threw in Las Vegas featured a stallion-pulled chariot driven by two gold-painted women. I’d call that excessive, except it might not have been real gold.
•  Dwyane Wade million settlement to finalize his divorce. There is a “non-disparage” clause. That means Dwyane can’t call his ex-wife crazy like I can.
•  Morgan Shepherd, 71, became the oldest driver to start a NASCAR Sprint Cup race. You could tell Shepherd’s car. It was the one that left its turn signal on the entire race.
• The 100th Tour de France was won by Britain’s Chris Froome. Which I take to mean he was the only cyclist left with clean urine.
• NFL stars Chris Johnson and Devin Hester separately raced a cheetah for a TV special to air in November. I am told the cheetah won both races and then mauled both men. OK, I made up that last part.
• Sentences I Never Imagined Writing (one in a series): “NBA free agent point guard Baron Davis says he was abducted by aliens.”
• Another Sentence I Never Imagined Writing: “The Gators suspended linebacker Antonio Morrison for two games after he was arrested for barking at a police dog.”
• At the ACC media kickoff, UM and Golden received support from North Carolina coach Larry Fedora. Any support is good, even from somebody named after a 1950s-style men’s hat.
• Texas A&M Heisman winner Johnny Manziel compared himself with Justin Bieber, and I think he’s right. Unless you’re a huge fan of either, you probably hate both.
• Spurs star Tim Duncan
•  Keith Olbermann next month will return to ESPN with a new show, preparatory to further alienating coworkers with his chafing personality and acrimoniously parting ways again.
• Florida’s two-day lobster miniseason happened. It is enjoyed annually by people too cheap to spend $11.99 a pound at Publix.
• The WNBA All-Star Game was played Saturday in Connecticut, but top rookie Brittney Griner did not compete because of an injury. (Like I needed another reason not to watch).
• The new NHL schedule reveals four divisions instead of six. I like the idea of letting the Panthers continually change divisions until they find one they can win.
• American 100-meter record holder Tyson Gay tested positive for PEDs, verifying the old Chinese proverb: “Even fastest man cannot outrun own urine sample.”
• Ray Lewis canceled his plan to climb Mount Kilimanjaro because of a foot injury. Mount Kilimanjaro did the Squirrel Dance to mock him.
• Retired NASCAR driver Kyle Petty said Danica Patrick “can go fast, but she can’t race.” Hmm. Kyle, you won only eight races in 829 starts over 30 years. Quiet, please.
•  Parting thought: Kansas football coach Charlie Weis this week referred to last year’s 1-11 team as “a pile of crap.” It was considered an insult. To crap.

Visit Greg’s Random Evidence of a Cluttered Blog daily at MiamiHerald.com and follow on Twitter @gregcote, on Instagram/upsetbird and on Vine/Greg Cote.

About Greg Cote

Greg Cote

@gregcote

Greg Cote has been a Miami Herald sports columnist since 1995 and also writes the Random Evidence blog and NFL predictions along with his notorious sidekick the Upset Bird. He has covered Hurricanes football (1984-88), the Dolphins (1990-91) and major events including Super Bowls, NBA Finals, World Series, Stanley Cup, Olympics and World Cup.

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