Greg Cote

Hot Fins, CFP semis, Cats, Heat make Hot Button list

ctrainor@miamiherald.com

1. DOLPHINS: Surging Fins aim for 7th win in a row at Baltimore: Miamians could not be happier. And not just because Fidel Castro died, either. The Dolphins enter Sunday's game in Baltimore on playoff pace and seeking a seventh consecutive victory. Yes, the Dolphins!

2. COLLEGE FOOTBALL: Playoff matchups set Sunday: As the Miami Hurricanes await a bowl bid and conference title games have ended, Selection Sunday for College Football Playoff means we finally see what teams Alabama must beat for national championship.

3. PANTHERS: Dumb! Cats panic, fire the coach: A quarter into the NHL season, Florida prematurely and unwisely fired coach Gerard Gallant, replacing him with general manager Tom Rowe. This franchise continues to treat stability as if it were an archenemy.

4. HEAT: Miami returns home Tuesday. Uh oh: Seeking a season-best three-game win streak late Saturday in Portland, the Heat returns to Miami, where the team is an NBA-worst 2-7, to face the Knicks Tuesday night. Home is where the hurt is, at least so far.

5. BASEBALL: MLB averts strike, begins winter meetings: Edging Tiger Woods' return for the 5 spot, baseball reached a new labor deal and begins its winter meetings, while Marlins signed veteran starter Edinson Volquez — a pebble into the crater left by Jose Fernandez.

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