Greg Cote

Greg Cote: Saban, Mayweather, Mannings, LeBron ... you bet!

Decade Times/Best Coach
2000s 7/1st (2001) Larry Coker
1990s 9/1st (1991) Dennis Erickson
1980s 9/1st (1983-87-89) Howard Schnellenberger, Jimmy Johnson, Dennis Erickson
1960s 1/9th (1966) Charlie Tate
1950s 4/6th (1956) Andy Gustafson

Note: UM was not ranked in final polls prior to 1950, in 1970s, or first three years of this decade.

I do not encourage gambling (except when it involves winning), but I must report that a friend of mine who helps run one of the bigger sports books in Las Vegas tells me that this weekend is money-money-money — the wagers flying like they won’t again until the betting holy grail we call the Super Bowl.

Think about it.

Saturday brought the enticement of the college football game of the year in No. 1 Alabama at No. 6 Texas A&M, with Nick Saban and Johnny Manziel dueling to see who’s more annoying and disliked.

Saturday night delivered Floyd Mayweather Jr.’s pay-per-view goldmine from the MGM Grand, reminding us that a major fight still moves major money.

Now, Sunday gives us two of the NFL season’s biggest betting draws in 49ers-Seahawks and the Peyton-Eli “Manning Bowl” (aka Broncos-Giants).

Legendary Vegas bookmaker Jimmy Vaccaro called this weekend “the perfect storm,” adding, “It’s going to be off the charts.”

In the spirit of transparency, I must tell you I bet big on Mayweather to beat challenger Saul “Canelo” Alvarez. It wasn’t just that Mayweather is much better. It was my long-held gambling credo to never trust a fighter named Saul.

(That reminds me. Mayweather is reported to keep $123million in his checking account. His checks don’t bounce. They take private jets.)

Two major Miami-related events also moved the wagering needle this weekend.

One is the Dolphins’ game at the Colts, of course. I like Miami in an upset because I figure Mike Wallace will get a bunch of pity passes; plus, unlike last week, I doubt the Dolphins will forget to pack a running game. I saw that Colts owner Jim Irsay said Indy would confront the Miami pass rush “with a NASA-like heat shield.” I think that might violate NFL rules.

The other big Miami-related event? LeBron James’ wedding! His nuptials with Savannah Brinson were scheduled for Saturday in San Diego.

I placed a wager that the wedding cake would cost more than my yearly salary. It’s amazing the prop bets you can get nowadays!

• How’d you do, paraskevidekatriaphobes? Did you beat the odds and somehow survive another Friday the 13th?

• Hockey is close. Panthers training camp is now under way. The Cats always have great camps. It’s the seasons that follow that tend to be the issue.

• NASCAR’s Chase for the Cup playoffs ending in Homestead starts Sunday in Chicago, with

Jeff Gordon

added as a 13th driver. The Chase began with 10 drivers. They added two wild cards. Now, exceptions. What’s next? Buy-ins? A lottery?

• The U.S. men’s soccer team beat Mexico 2-0 to qualify for a seventh consecutive World Cup. We pretty much have the getting-there down pat. It’s the winning-there that’s been problematic.

• FIU, outscored 81-10 in two losses, hosted a foe its own size last evening. Panthers, if you didn’t beat Bethune-Cookman, please turn in your helmets.

• News bulletin: ESPN keeps reporting (incessantly) that James has “no idea” what will happen in 2014. Updates as warranted. Or, in this case, even when not warranted.

• Sports Illustrated had a big exposé this week on Oklahoma State football, and Yahoo reported five Southeastern Conference players accepted improper benefits. Great. Like the NCAA needed more distractions? At this rate,

Nevin Shapiro

will be out on parole before the NCAA closes the Miami case.

• An unnamed Texas A&M fan paid $115,000 at an auction for a “12THMAN” vanity license plate. Wonder how many autographs Johnny had to sign to afford that!?

• Ex-Cane

Riquna Williams

scored 51 points for Tulsa to set a WNBA record. Best thing about that? For one news cycle, it forced ESPN


hosts to pretend they know or care about the WNBA.


Gary Payton

is among the 12 newest members of the basketball hall of fame. He’s the only player in NBA history to top 20,000 points, 8,000 assists and 5,000 trash-talks.

• A man named

Tom Garfinkel

is the Dolphins’ new president/CEO but he has nothing to do with the football operation, so his title might as well be president of we’re-not-interested.

• The Pats’

Tom Brady

yelled at his receivers for dropping his passes. Wait, isn’t that



• The NFL fined the Lions’

Ndamukong Suh

for dirty play. Or, did that go without saying?

• Jets cornerback

Antonio Cromartie

described himself as “a jackass.” There was no dissent.

• The Eagles game hasn’t even kicked off yet, and already

Chip Kelly’s

offense has run 45 plays.

• New Zealand is easily beating the United States in sailing’s 34th America’s Cup. Considering the American boat was penalized in the biggest cheating scandal in the regatta’s 162-year history, I can’t quite bring myself to start a rallying “U-S-A!” chant.


Serena Williams’


Rafael Nadal’s

U.S. Open titles were her 17th Grand Slam win and his 13th. Cream rises in tennis more than any other sport. Cinderella need not apply.

• The IOC voted to keep wrestling as an Olympic sport. Fans of Greco-Roman wrestling are thrilled. Both of them:

Dan Gable

and that one other guy.


Parting thought:

Residents of Jim Thorpe, Pa., are fighting to keep

Jim Thorpe’s

remains against his relatives’ wishes. “Creepy,” said the rest of the nation.

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