Greg Cote

Greg Cote’s Random Evidence: Duck call for Hurricanes, last call for Dolphins

Head coach Al Golden in the first quarter as the University of Miami hosts Pittsburgh at Sun Life Stadium on Saturday, November 29, 2014.
Head coach Al Golden in the first quarter as the University of Miami hosts Pittsburgh at Sun Life Stadium on Saturday, November 29, 2014. MIAMI HERALD STAFF

Sports has too many awards as is, so what’s one more? Coaches should get credit for the exceptional, Oscar-worthy acting they are often required to do. For example:

Al Golden and Steve Spurrier, on the tail of disappointing 6-6 seasons, trying to convince everybody how excited they and their teams are to be preparing for the “Duck Commander Independence Bowl” in a place most of us go to great lengths to avoid, Shreveport, Louisiana.

It is the new, working definition of “too many bowl games.” A pair of underachieving .500 teams relegated to a bowl sponsored by a company that makes duck calls. A company that spawned the heavily bearded Duck Dynasty lowbrow reality TV show. A company founded by Phil Robertson, who has wormed into unfortunate headlines with his various homophobic espousing.

Keep him away from all bowl-related festivities, lest his warm words of welcome degenerate into a loud rant against same-sex marriage.

This makes the Famous Idaho Potato and Bitcoin bowls sound noble by comparison.

By the way, whatever happened to the Poulan Weed Eater Bowl?

Does the Duck Commander Bowl’s trophy depict a man raising a shotgun in a duck blind?

The UM bowl game is Dec.27.

Dolphins playoff hopes might not last that long. It’s last call.

To keep hope alive, Miami must beat Tom Brady on Sunday in New England, where the Dolphins have lost four in a row and seven of the past eight games played in December or later. And in the one win (2005 season), Brady played only one quarter because the Pats already had clinched the division title.

On the bright side, losing at New England in December is not nearly as embarrassing as playing in a bowl game grand-marshaled by a homophobe making duck calls.

▪ Random is thrilled to be back after a two-week hiatus. It was injury related. I sustained broken ribs after being trampled by a galloping herd of shoppers on Black Friday.

▪ Quarterback Marcus Mariota was favored to win the Heisman Trophy on Saturday. He plays for Oregon, which means, to fans on the East Coast, he’s pretty much a rumor.

▪ The U Part 2, a sequel-documentary, premiered Saturday on ESPN after the Heisman telecast. The original focused on UM football’s glory teams. This one centers on the Nevin Shapiro mess and leaner times. Based on this trend, may we expect The U Part 3 to focus on preparations for the Duck Commander Bowl?

▪ The new Miami Beach Bowl and Boca Raton Bowl prepare for next week’s inaugural games. Yes, because 39 bowls are not enough. Too many deserving mediocre teams were being denied.

▪ Forbes says the Panthers are the least-valuable NHL franchise at $190million, and decreased attendance this season isn’t helping. The good news? Four wins in the past seven games entering the weekend had the Cats only two points off the playoff pace. That isn’t exactly red-hot, but with this team we grade on a curve.

▪ New, temporary definition of insanity: “Fantasy owners smitten by Johnny Manziel and starting him in their playoff opener this weekend.”

▪ The NFL approved a new, tougher personal-conduct policy. It should informally be called the Rice/Peterson Act, or, How to Keep Roger Goodell From Embarrassing Himself With Absurdly Lenient Penalties.

▪ The Canes men’s basketball team is 9-1 and ranked No.20. You know it’s a promising season when fans are already looking forward to a Jan.13 game at No.2 Duke.

▪ The four-team Orange Bowl Basketball Classic is Saturday in Sunrise, featuring Florida and FSU. Because, apparently, including Miami would have made too much sense.

▪ British tabloids report David Beckham has approached U.S. goalkeeper Tim Howard about joining his Miami MLS team. Which would be exciting if Beckham actually, you know, had a Miami MLS team.

▪ Britons also were aghast that LeBron James put his arm around Kate Middleton on her and Prince William’s recent U.S. visit, saying it breached royal protocol. Evidently the Brits do not recognize the monarchy of King James.

▪ Brazilian soccer legend Ronaldo is a new part owner of the Fort Lauderdale Strikers. Given their attendance woes, I think the new part owner should ask Ronaldo, 38, to come out of retirement and play.

▪ That reminds me. Something’s wrong. It has been almost 24 hours since Lionel Messi scored a goal.

▪ Baseball writers have received their new Hall of Fame ballots. Ready for your latest public flogging, Steroids Era guys?

▪ Giants pitcher and World Series MVP Madison Bumgarner once dated a girl named Madison Bumgarner. Had they married, I wonder if she would have gone by Madison Bumgarner-Bumgarner?

▪ Somebody check on Jose Canseco. Make sure he’s OK. It has been almost three weeks since he has been in the news for doing anything embarrassing.

▪ In horse racing, Dave Palone became the winningest harness driver in the world. Even friends didn’t have the heart to tell him how unpopular harness racing has become.

▪ Martin Jacobson won World Series of Poker and its $10million prize. One of the finalists was Jorryt Van Hoof. Question: What’s a name you thought nobody in the world actually had?

▪ Parting thought: A Memphis man was charged with stealing 7,500 pair of new LeBron James shoes valued at $1.5million. That’s galling! I don’t mean the thief thinking he’d get away with it. I mean Nike charging $200 for a pair of sneakers.

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

Hot list

Today: Dolphins at New England in December (or later). Miami is 4-12 all-time at the Patriots in winter. Miami’s only four wins at New England in December or later, in reverse chronology:

Date

Score

Dolphins/Patriots QB

Jan. 1, 2006

28-26

Gus Frerotte vs. Matt Cassel*

Dec. 24, 2000

27-24

Jay Fiedler vs. Drew Bledsoe

Dec. 27, 1992

16-13 (OT)

Dan Marino vs. Jeff Carlson

Dec. 3, 1972

37-21

Earl Morrall vs. Jim Plunkett

*Tom Brady started but played only first quarter because

Patriots already had clinched division title. Cassel entered with score 7-7 and played last three quarters. Note: Miami has lost four consecutive December-or-later games at New England since

its most recent victory.

What South Florida sports fans are talking about:

1. DOLPHINS

Playoff hopes will stay warm or freeze to death at Pats: Last week’s damaging home loss to Baltimore means Miami must beat Tom Brady on Sunday at New England to maintain realistic hopes of still reaching the playoffs for the first time since 2008. Putting a positive spin on it, a heat wave is sweeping across the area, and the high Sunday could reach 40 degrees.

2. MARLINS

Team acquires leadoff hitter, starting pitcher in big week: First they re-signed Giancarlo Stanton long-term, now the Fish acquire MLB base-stealing champ Dee Gordon and quality starter Mat Latos. If that doesn’t win the Offseason World Series, it at least makes the winter playoffs. Meantime, my ability to complain about Jeffrey Loria is being seriously infringed upon.

3. HEAT

Slumping Miami tries to solve defensive deficiencies: Miami, back home Sunday against Chicago, had dropped below .500 entering the weekend after losing five of its past six games in a slump blamed largely on poor defensive play. Name a phrase you might hear both from optimistic lawyers in a courtroom and from disgruntled Heat fans. Answer: “The defense rests.”

4. HURRICANES

UM accepts invitation to Quack-Quack Bowl: A .500 team’s choices are limited, so Miami prepares to face South Carolina on Dec. 27 in the second- or perhaps third-tier Duck Commander Bowl in Shreveport, Louisiana. Those are the “Duck Dynasty” folks from reality TV. Please tell me there won’t be duck calls blaring across the PA system after every first down.

5. COLLEGE FOOTBALL

First four-team playoff set amid controversy: There wasn’t much argument that Alabama, Oregon and Florida State would be the top three teams, but Ohio State sneaking in as the fourth team in the inaugural College Football Playoff made fans of TCU and Baylor upset. What, you thought a playoff would end all the rancor and debate? It didn’t. It won’t. Ain’t it great!

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