1. HURRICANES: Richt, UM hit jackpot with early recruits: Orange Bowl date with Wisconsin isn't for another week, but UM made news this week welcoming a bounty of talent during NCAA's first-ever early recruiting period. Five-star commits in RB Lorenzo Lingard and WR Mark Pope lead an offense-rich class that won the state and was ranked No. 7 nationally by ESPN. In continuing search for signs The U is "back," this was the latest.
2. MARLINS: The circus and folly of Jeter's townhall meeting: It was necessary but meant little. New Fish boss Derek Jeter came out of hiding to hear fans vent about his money-saving fire sale. It had the appearance of openness and transparency without actually being either. Highlight: "Marlins Man" (attention-seeking Laurence Leavy) asking Jeter, "Do you know who I am?" Then Jeter saying nah to an invite to ride in Leavy's “Marlinsmobile.”
3. DOLPHINS: Is Sunday in Kansas City where playoff hopes die?: The dreary Dolphins, 6-8 but faintly alive, need several results to fall right to sneak into the playoffs -- the first a road win over heavily favored Chiefs. Do they have a chance? I'll answer that rhetorical with this one: Might you cash the winning Lotto ticket? Safety Reshad Jones was Miami's only Pro Bowl pick, and his defense will be overmatched vs. KC's varied arsenal.
4. HEAT: Unlikely win at Boston triggers new hope: Heat had nudged up over .500 and climbed to edge of playoff pace entering weekend after an unlikely 90-89 win over mighty Celtics in Boston. Unlikely? Miami got career-high 32 points from ex-Celtic Kelly Olynyk but injury-decimated Heat barely had enough players to compete. I mean, how impressive was it to see Pat Riley, 72, slip on those '70s short-shorts for some quality minutes!
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5. UM BASKETBALL: No. 6 Canes men gird for ACC schedule: FAU won its bowl, FIU did not and the Panthers are still skating aimlessly, but the 5-Spot goes to the Canes, who were 9-0 entering Saturday's game at Hawaii. The real games -- the Atlantic Coast Conference schedule -- start Dec. 30 at Pitt. Season began under cloud of that national FBI recruiting probe, but UM has found the best diversion and distraction possible. Winning.