Greg Cote

Greg Cote: UM’s Al Golden earns preseason No. 1 ranking, but for all the wrong reasons

It has been 4,609 days now — that’s 12 years, seven months and 14 days — since the Miami Hurricanes last lined up to play a football game as a nationally top-ranked team.

Well, at last UM football is associated with a top ranking again, though this time it is one to be avoided, not coveted.

Canes coach Al Golden is a dubious No. 1 on ESPN.com’s preseason list of the 10 “hottest coaching seats” in college football. Writer Travis Haney concludes Golden’s “days in South Florida are likely numbered.”

The problem isn’t so much the four-year record of 28-22. It is the trend, the arc of the Golden years. As recently as midseason 2013, fans loved Golden. His surname seemed appropriate as UM sat 7-0 and ranked seventh. He was a savior. Frat boys wore white shirts and orange ties to games, just like Golden.

Miami has been 8-11 since, and most in an increasingly impatient fan base would cheer rather than argue Golden being placed atop that ranking of major-college coaches nearest the firing line.

I don’t want to exaggerate Golden’s unpopularity, though.

He isn’t Jeffrey Loria. Also, even his biggest critics surely like Golden more than, for example, that Minnesota dentist who killed Cecil the lion. Probably.

▪ Only the Jets, right? Embattled starting quarterback Geno Smith is sidelined half the season with a broken jaw after being punched by teammate Ikemefuna Enemkpali, who immediately was cut. Worst part? Jets fans weren’t sure whether to call Smith’s injury good news or bad.

▪ Enemkpali was quickly signed by Buffalo and former Jets coach Rex Ryan. It ends happily, though. First day in the Bills’ locker room, Enemkpali had his lunch money stolen by Richie Incognito.

▪ Tom Brady’s federal court case against the NFL over his four-game Deflategate suspension has yet to settle. The courtroom sketch artist was ridiculed nationally for a rendition of Brady that was unflattering. Check that, the artist was ridiculed in New England, but hailed as a modern-day da Vinci elsewhere.

▪ Meanwhile, rumors swirl that Brady and supermodel wife Giselle Bundchen might be divorcing.

Only the bright side: No punches. Jaw intact.

▪ National gymnastics championships end Sunday in Indiana, where Miami’s Danell Leyva hoped to perform a parallel bars maneuver so groundbreaking that, if successful, it would be named after him. I can relate. In sports writing, someone who mails in a slapdash column is said to have “nailed a Cote.”

▪ Tennis pro Nick Kyrgios was fined $10,000 by the ATP tour for telling opponent Stan Wawrinka during a match that another player was, um, ah, engaged in carnal knowledge with Wawrinka’s girlfriend. Well, there goes that Kyrgios-Wawrinka doubles partnership!

▪ American teen Katie Ledecky won five golds at the world swimming championships in Russia and should star at the 2016 Rio Olympics. Thank goodness they have pools there, because rowers and others face polluted, sewage-laden waters in Brazil. Anyone who doesn’t contract cholera should win a medal.

▪ And in today’s Ridiculous Sports faceoff: A crowd of 10,000 watching the finale of a video gaming competition in Seattle vs. Dolphins owner Stephen Ross investing in the Drone Racing League.

▪ It might be inevitable that Ross’ two sporting passions mingle. Picture it: Dolphins play calls getting from sideline to huddle via drones.

▪ As the Dolphins and Dolfans prepare for Tuesday’s annual Kickoff Luncheon in downtown Miami, running back LaMichael James informs the media he’d like that we call him “LaMike” from now on. Tell you what. First prove that we won’t be calling you “ex-Dolphin” instead, OK?

▪ Gotta love a private university! The Hurricanes women’s basketball team is on a 10-day excursion in Europe, thus spending more on this holiday than it generates in ticket revenue in an entire season.

▪ FIFA said it has opened an internal investigation into corruption. That’s like the Mafia investigating organized crime.

▪ The Little League World Series begins Thursday, despite Mo’Ne Davis not being in it.

▪ Al Avila (from Hialeah High) became MLB’s first Cuban-born general manager when the Tigers promoted him. But you know baseball. His next distinction likely will be as first Cuban-born GM fired.

▪ There was no Heat presence as Team USA gathered in Las Vegas for training camp, but Kobe Bryant said he’d like to play in the Rio Olympics next year just before turning 38. Well, that’s one way to give the rest of the world a chance.

▪ ESPN chose a Mount Rushmore for each NHL club and Florida’s was Pavel Bure, Olli Jokinen, Roberto Luongo and Scott Mellanby. Hmm. The Panthers have made the playoffs four times in 21 years and done nothing in them since 1996. How about we call it a hill and make ’em earn the mountain?

▪ Miami FC, set to begin play in NASL in 2016, revealed its logo. The team will enjoy one year in quiet obscurity prior to being steamrolled further into the shadows by David Beckham and MLS.

▪ Receiver Cordell Broadus, Snoop Dogg’s kid, quit the UCLA team, and nobody cared.

▪ Floyd Mayweather Jr. announced his final fight before retiring would be Sept. 12, with no date set yet for his final fight after that one.

▪ Parting thought: I close by presenting the following without comment because some things are so absurd they require no punch line: Adidas is paying James Harden $200 million to wear its sneakers.

Visit Greg’s Random Evidence blog daily at MiamiHerald.com and follow on Twitter @gregcote. Also on Facebook, Instagram, Vine and Periscope.

Hot list

Today: Thousand-yard rushers. The only times the Dolphins and Hurricanes have both had a 1,000-yard running back the same season:

Year

Dolphins

Hurricanes

2014

Lamar Miller, 1,099

Duke Johnson, 1,652

2011

Reggie Bush, 1,086

Lamar Miller, 1,272

2002

Ricky Williams, 1,853

Willis McGahee, 1,753

2000

Lamar Smith, 1,139

James Jackson, 1,006

1978

Delvin Williams, 1,258

Ottis Anderson, 1,266

Note: Dolphins have had a 1,000-yard rusher 12 times in 49 seasons (24.5 percent). Hurricanes have had nine in 68 seasons (13.2 percent) since UM first began keeping individual statistics in 1947.

1. DOLPHINS

Starters impressive despite loss in exhibition opener: The limitlessness of possibilities was redefined Thursday, as fans discovered it was possible to be generally pleased after a preseason opener in which Miami lost at Chicago 27-10 while committing 12 penalties and four turnovers. The starters looked great. For mid-August, that’s enough.

2. MARLINS

Lost year as Fernandez joins Stanton on disabled list: The Fish had won three in a row entering the weekend but the season was beyond hope, and now Jose Fernandez joined Giancarlo Stanton on the DL. Interim manager Dan Jennings said of the season, “Thank God there’s no Prohibition in baseball.” It’s disappointed fans who could use a drink.

3. HURRICANES

Countdown 20 days as UM prepares for opener: The Canes held their first scrimmage, but it was closed to fans and media. If a scrimmage falls on campus but nobody hears it, does it still make a sound? Miami’s Sept. 5 opener against Bethune-Cookman had better require little more exertion than that scrimmage, or the Canes could be in trouble.

4. HEAT

NBA schedule out; Miami hosts Christmas game again: The Heat opens play at home Oct. 28 in Chris Bosh’s comeback, and visits LeBron James in Cleveland two days later. Also notable: A Christmas home game against New Orleans. Bah humbug. NBA should take that sacred holiday off but instead will play a record five games. Jesus!

5. GOLF

PGA Championship, year’s final major, wraps up: There was a closely bunched leaderboard entering the weekend in Wisconsin, but, once again, Tiger Woods couldn’t find the map to the final round, missing the cut for the fourth time in his past five majors. Remember when Tiger was thrilling to watch? Now it’s closer to sad.

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