SZNAP CHAT – DECEMBER 4
By Adam Sznapstajler

SOUTH FLORIDA SPORTS UPDATE

Well, there is a lot going on this past week and, as a fan, I am really excited. The Gators have an excellent new coach, the Dolphins aren’t making my Sunday’s depressing, and the Heat and Panthers are some of the best teams in their respective sports. It’s not often one of my sports updates has the opportunity to be all positive so here we go!

FLORIDA GATORS

I know they aren’t from South Florida but I wanted to start with my alma mater. I touched on the Billy Napier hire on my last column but I would like to expand more now that I have heard the man speak.

Honestly, I am even more excited than before. I know it was just a press conference but Napier hit on the key buzzwords I wanted to hear. That is a focus on building a championship program from top to bottom, including an emphasis on recruiting. I also am encouraged by the Gators providing Napier with an estimated $7.5 Million budget for assistants, compared to Mullen’s $6 Million (which most was wasted on subpar DC Todd Gratham).

Obviously, I have tempered expectations early in his tenure but, given that probably every plugged in college football analyst says, that this is a great hire.

MIAMI DOLPHINS

Well, I didn’t think I would be here but at 6-7 with 5 straight wins after a 1-7 start the Miami Dolphins are firmly entrenched in the playoff hunt. The winning streak has been driven by excellent defensive play, to the level that was expected early in the season and a competent offense led by a surging Tua Tagovailoa. It looks like the Dolphins hit on their top 3 2021 draft picks too; First pick Jaylen Waddle has set the Dolphins rookie reception record, second pick Jaelen Phillips has set the Dolphins rookie sack record, and third pick Jevon Holland has become a gamebreaker in the secondary.

The Dolphins should win in two weeks (after a much needed bye) against the struggling Jets to bring their record to 7-7. They will then likely need to win 2 out of 3 (if not all) of their last games against the injured Saints and Titans, followed by a finale in Miami against the surging Patriots.

I like to hope for the Dolphins chances but my fandom history is telling me otherwise. But hey, what do I know, Fins Up!

MIAMI HEAT

After one of the best starts in the NBA, the Heat have definitely cooled down a little bit. Much of this can be attributed to injuries to main players like Bam Adebayo and Jimmy Butler, as well as struggles by Kyle Lowry and Duncan Robinson.

Luckily, it is early in the season and there is still time to get healthy before even the All Star Game break. Also, a staple of Erik Spoelstra coached teams shows a ton of improvement in the second half. It is often said that, in the NBA, it is your first 20 games and last 20 games that define your season. With that adage and my confidence in the veteran experience of the Heat, I don’t have any worries that this team won’t be a true contender for a championship come playoff time.

FLORIDA PANTHERS

We should rename this team the Cardiac Cats. After comebacks over the past couple weeks from being down 4 goals, it is evident that this is a special team in Sunrise. However, I would say It’s a little disconcerting that they are going down this big in games. With Barkov hurt there Is really not much to say about this team at the moment, they just continue to play well and chug onto the playoffs and possible President’s Cup.

MIAMI HURRICANES

Since they are in South Florida, I should probably put this here. It looks like they are getting Mario Cristobal, that is good for the program. He will bring them from a disappointing team losing every important game to a good team losing every important game. Also, don’t they have a coach? I don’t like the idea of negotiating with a new coach while you have one employed. But at least they got their guy, I guess.