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Sport Agenda For Wednesday (1/5/12)

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(Photo by J. Meric/Getty Images) Miami's Geno Smith #12 of the West Virginia Mountaineers celebrates with the trophy after they won 70-33 against the Clemson Tigers during the Discover Orange Bowl at Sun Life Stadium on January 4, 2012

(Photo by J. Meric/Getty Images) Miami’s Geno Smith #12 of the West Virginia Mountaineers celebrates with the trophy after they won 70-33 against the Clemson Tigers during the Discover Orange Bowl at Sun Life Stadium on January 4, 2012

Miami Heat
Miami Dolphins

Big Story:
If you catch the number of that train that just demolished Clemson, let me know. Plus, LeBron scares the daylights out of Heat fans, the Dolphins coaching search continues, and the Panthers hit the ice again tonight.
Let’s drop this harder than Rick Perry’s poll numbers.

Orange Bowl:
Ouch. Yikes. Brutal. Beatdown.
Choose your term, although I like stomped a mudhole in them and walked it dry, to describe the massacre in Miami last night.
I think it finally settled a debate I was having about which “major” conference is the worst.
It’s easily the ACC.
Seriously, the best team, Va. Tech, was beaten by a bad Michigan Team.
FSU needed a fourth quarter comeback to beat a Notre Dame team without a decent quarterback.
FSU has a chance to be ranked in the top 10 next year, as does Va. Tech. But still, the ACC, yeah, um…well…you could always be the WAC!
Kudos to the newest member of the Big XII though in West Virginia.
I was fascinated watching Dana Holgorsen’s offense just chew up and spit out Clemson.
Here’s my lead from my preview story on the Orange Bowl yesterday:
“If you’re a fan of high-flying offensive fireworks, the 2012 Orange Bowl on Wednesday will be just the bowl game you’ve been waiting on.”
I’m not sayin, I’m just sayin.

Miami Heat: (@ Atlanta Hawks, 8:00 p.m., TNT)
Well, if you couldn’t stand watching a blowout in the Orange Bowl you could always have turned over to see… a blowout by the Heat.
It was a brutal 35 point beatdown of the Indiana Pacers, who were supposedly improved enough to compete.
Yeah, about that.
I said it before the season started, I don’t see any reason why this Heat team can’t win at least 50 games in the 66 game season.
They follow last night’s stomping of the Pacers with a trip to Hotlanta to battle the Hawks.
The Hawks shutdown the Heat earlier this week with a stingy zone defense.
But the bigger issue for the Heat is the status of LeBron James’ ankle.
D-Wade was out last night due to a “foot contusion” so he may still not be able to go against the Hawks tonight.
LeBron rolled his ankle in the game, but still poured in 33 points, 13 assists, and 8 rebounds.
If LeBron’s ankle is okay, I say play him. But, if there’s even a shadow of a doubt that his ankle could bother him, then sit him and Wade both tonight.
There were several things I was impressed with in last night’s game, most notably the play of the role players in the game.
James Jones shot 50 percent from downtown and Mario Chalmers contributed 15 points and 3 assists.
Udonis Haslem came off the bench with 8 points and 10 rebounds.
And my guy, Norris Cole came off the bench with 10 points and 5 assists.
Last year, it was the Big Three having to carry the team.
But last night, the team was able to help lift the Big Three.
James and Bosh got theirs, but the rest of the guys had to step up and contribute and they did in a big way.
This should be a wake-up call to the rest of the league that if this team continues to come together and stay healthy, I will say it now, no one can stop them.
By the way, the Heat went to the foul line 28 times last night and made 26 of them.
The two that were missed, came from LeBron. I guess the King is human after all.

Panthers: (@ New York Rangers, 7:00 p.m., Fox Sports Florida)
The Panthers struggled in December after tearing it up through the first two months of the year.
In the last week of 2011, by winning 2 of 3, but the one loss was to…the New York Rangers.
The Panthers have gone 4-4-2 in their last 10 games and could be fading early as the 2012 part of the season begins with a two game road trip.
Florida is clinging to a 3 point lead in the Southeast Division and are only 4 games ahead of third place Winnipeg.
The Rangers are kings in the Eastern Conference and are 7-3-0 in their last 10 games.
Needless to say, it was a good thing the Panthers had the time off to start the new year.
They need to come back showing the same fire they had in October and November, or things could get away from them quickly.
Florida plays just 9 games in January, which will help keep them healthy, hopefully.

Dolphins: (no coaching interviewees being brought in by helicopter, but they could still be interviewing someone)
I don’t expect any movement from the Dolphins on the coaching search today, unless..
Jeff Fisher decides to take the Fins’ offer and the coaching search ends.
Michael Silver of Yahoo! Sports is pretty much convinced Fisher will come here unless he’s blown away by St. Louis.
I’m still a bit skeptical, but I can see many of Silver’s points.
Most notably, the Fins’ roster is infinitely more talented than the Rams’ roster.
Fisher would have to do less work to the Fins roster than he would to overhaul a bad Rams team.
In other words, his road to the playoffs would be theoretically easier with the Fins.
But, the Rams play in the worst division in football, so just some minor improvements could put them in playoff contention immediately.
I did laugh yesterday that Ross said he would not be outbid by anyone for Fisher’s services.
If I’m Fisher, I see that and hesitate a bit, until the check clears.
Think about it, Ross is in a class of billionaires. Why wouldn’t Kroenke in St. Louis start a bidding war just to make Ross really pay.
Of course, in a class of billionaires used to getting their way, $8 million per year is chump change.

Marlins:
The Fish decided to add one more player to their rotation late Wednesday by trading for Carlos Zambrano.
Wait, what?
Yes, the same Zambrano who quit on the Cubs last season.
The same Zambrano who has acted in the past like he’s a couple of French fries short of a Happy Meal.
On the bright side, the Marlins only have to pay $3 million of his $18 million contract.
Still, if his head is on straight and Ozzie Guillen can get the best out of him, he’s a former all-star pitcher who can win at least 10 games in a season.
But, he’s not pitched more than 188 innings since 2007.
He’s got a lifetime ERA of 3.6 and averages about a 2-1 strikeout-walk ratio for his career.
The Marlins rotation looks to be set for next season with some combination of the following:
Josh Johnson, Mark Buehrle, Anibal Sanchez, Ricky Nolasco, Carlos Zambrano.
Not bad, if they’re all healthy and ready to roll in April and again in September.

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