Greg Cote: South Florida’s sports plate suddenly full

09/29/2013 12:12 AM

09/29/2013 12:42 AM

It isn’t official. Can’t be quantified. Nobody voted on it. But I’m just going to go ahead and declare it:

Right now, this week ahead is the single greatest time on the American sports calendar, nationally and in South Florida. The confluence of so much that we love is like no other time. Consider:

The NFL is really heating up, especially in Miami, with the Dolphins preparing for their first battle-of-unbeatens Monday night matchup since 1996.

College football nears its conference games, with the Hurricanes ranked No. 15.

Baseball’s October playoffs are now at hand (helping us to forget this Marlins season).

The NBA unfurls as the two-time, defending-champion Heat opens training camp this week.

Hockey is here, with the young Panthers’ season opener Thursday.

College basketball has started practice, too.

The sports plate is suddenly so full, it’s the perfect time for Dan Le Batard’s 790 and 104.3 The Ticket radio show to go national on ESPN, which it will starting at 4 p.m. Monday, right in between the Heat’s annual media-day welcome back and the Dolphins’ biggest game in years.

By the way, Yours Truly will be among Dan’s “rotating guest cohosts,” and yet the show is expected to succeed, anyway.

• In one of the great comebacks in sports history, Oracle Team USA rallied dramatically to beat Emirates Team New Zealand in the final race of America’s Cup sailing when the Kiwis’ catamaran unexpectedly was sunk by a missile from a U.S. Naval submarine.
• How sadly appropriate the Marlins ended their 100-loss season Sunday against the Tigers. Like we needed another reminder that Miguel Cabrera was traded to Detroit for, if memory serves, a couple of doomed prospects and a bucket of sunflower seeds.
• That reminds me. The Marlins firing president of baseball ops Larry Beinfest on Friday presented a dilemma for fans. Even if you wanted him out, it’s just so hard to agree with anything Jeffrey Loria does.
• ESPN’s annual ranking of the 122 franchises in the big-four sports leagues rated the Heat 25th, Panthers 82nd, Dolphins 97th and Marlins 120th — with Loria dead last among all owners. And that was even without Beinfest’s vote!
• FIU football, 0-4 and outscored by a 187-23 total, was off this week. The bye was favored y 36 points.
• Following a week off, the Hurricanes beat Savannah State 77-7 last week. “Really made you appreciate how tough the bye week played us,” said the Canes.
• WNBA playoffs are in conference finals, but the big story was Diana Taurasi of Phoenix kissing friendly rival Seimone Augustus of Minnesota on the cheek during a game, both drawing technical fouls. So apparently there is no crying in baseball or kissing in basketball.
• Now, the above would be an inventive way for Dwyane Wade and Kevin Durant to end their feud. I’m just sayin’!
• Durant, of course, said he thinks James Harden should have replaced Wade in a top-10 player ranking, igniting a little social media war. Some thought it a publicity stunt to set up a new Gatorade ad, but Wade said it was no joke. (Hmm. Isn’t that what he would say if it were really a stunt?)
• The Heat and Nets reportedly will wear “nickname jerseys” (i.e “King James”) during a game this season. Picture a board meeting where the boss has a really bad idea and everybody is afraid to tell him.
• The rehabilitation of the Heat’s two notable new players will be an interesting story as Greg Oden (knee) and Michael Beasley (weed) try to get their careers back on track.
• New Panthers goaltender Tim Thomas, 39, known for refusing to attend the White House after the Bruins’ 2011 Stanley Cup in objection to the president, is mentoring young goalie Jacob Markstrom, and the impact has been immediate. I hear Markstrom already likes Obama less than he used to.
• It came out this week that Dolphins general manager Jeff Ireland had been given a contract extension. For Dolfans thrilled to be 3-0 but still not sold on Ireland, the word was “quandary.”
• Answer: There was a big front-page story this week on how the wife of Dolphins cornerback Brent Grimes is outspoken on Twitter. Question: What do they mean by “slow news day”?
• The Vikings and Steelers play Sunday in London. For a day, Wembley Stadium is Winless Stadium.
• TMZ reported that injured Ravens receiver Jacoby Jones was hit over the head with a champagne bottle by a stripper aboard a “party bus.” Ah, role models!
• The classy sendoff for Mariano Rivera made me forget I hate the Yankees. Well, at least for a minute. (I find it so much easier to be magnanimous when they don’t make the playoffs.)
•  Tiger Woods was voted PGA Tour player of the year. Tiger, until you start winning majors again, there is a phrase for an honor like this. It is, “consolation prize.”
• Florida quarterback Jeff Driskel is out for the season injured. Have Gators fans decided yet whether that’s bad news or good?
•  Parting thought: Scientists say the sun will obliterate Earth and end civilization as we know it within 2.25 billion years. OK so there you have it, NCAA: A firm deadline for that final ruling in the Miami investigation.

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