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It's Upset Bird Day in America!; plus Super Bowl poll (vote now), Heat staff news, message of love & more

1aa1ajrivers1) It is FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 5. I'm up at Random Evidence Laboratories today bringing forth the Sunday notes-column package. 2) Joan Rivers, R.I.P., gone at 81. Never liked her latter-day, Botoxed, red carpet fashion police persona, but respected her as an earlier trailblazer for women comics. 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): 4 truisms about Canes football, SOPY season debut, Kate Upton's nudie, Stanton MVP update, Upset Bird Countdown & more. 4) Follow us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook, Instagram and Vine.

UPSET BIRD DAY IN AMERICA!: We launch our 24th season of Friday Page NFL predictions today online and in the old-school inky pulp editions. I regret to note we got off to a stumbling start last night with 1aa1abird;pix 1aa1cotepixan ill-conceived risk on Green Bay winning at Seattle. (On the bright side, I got 26 points from Marshawn Lynch and 16 from Percy Harvin, so my fantasy team is off and flying. It was bittersweet watching my own guys help pummel my prediction). Click on Math By Division for the season's first Friday Page column; I forecast the records and standings of every team, by division, and issue my Super Bowl prediction. Click on Week 1 Gems for my all my predix capsules. My Upset of the Week ("Aaawwwk!") is Miami over New England. Yes, you read that right. Luckily, my only fantasy-team Patriot starter is the kicker, so I doubt he can do that much damage to the pick. [Addendum: The Upset Bird has just noticed the cartoon likeness of him above left includes a curvature of the beak, whereas, in real life, his proud raven's beak is of course as straight as a pair of needle-nose plyers. He isn't happy. "What the faaawwwk!"].

AND THE SUPER BOWL FAVORITE IS...?: I didn't want to make this poll unwieldy by including every 1aa1anflteam that thinks it has a playoff shot. (Sorry, Dolfans). Instead I narrowed it to the 1aa1aazsbfive teams with the best chance, by consensus, to win the Super Bowl. ESPN surveyed its 16 NFL experts and these were the only five teams, in fact, to be forecast as champion at least once. Also note the poll does not include "other" as a category, because the question is which team among the consensus favorites you most think will win it all. Vote and say why, or say which team not on the list you think will shock the world.

HEAT STAFF NEWS: Heat announced today that assistant coach Ron Rothstein has retired from coaching and will join the Heat broadcast team while remaining with the club as a corporate liaison, and that assistant Bob McAdoo will become a pro scout for the club and also serve as a community laision.

WHAT THE WORLD (STILL) NEEDS NOW...: Can you imagine writing about sports for a living -- trying to put forth the importance of the Dolphins stopping Rob Gronkowski, for example -- while across the globe Islamic State terrorist-megalomaniacs rampage and behead innocents? It's weird. So yesterday I'm fathoming this when across my car radio comes the song presented below. The message and lyrics are both so romantically naive and yet so urgently, increasingly needed in the world today. As long as the people who believe in the message outnumber those who don't, I guess we have a chance.


1aa1anevermoreUPSET BIRD COUNTDOWN: 1 DAY (from Thursday): The Upset Bird and I launch our 24th 1aa1abird1season of NFL Friday Page predictions in the Miami Herald in 1 day, tomorrow, Sept. 5. To celebrate we have a daily countdown honoring notable fictional birds of different species. Today (following Captain Flint the parrot), we end our countdown with the only aviary star we could: Nevermore, talking raven from Edgar Allan Poe's 1845 poem, The Raven. The Upset Bird considers Nevermore a forebear and constant inspirational muse.

Check back often because we update and add to our latest blogposts an awful lot...