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Miami Heat open with loss in Orlando. You set bar on season expectations/wins. New poll. Vote now!; plus how Dolphins went from Dullphins to exciting and fun, Herald NFL QB rankings, Pix 'n Fantasy results, college State of the State rank & more

1) It's THURSDAY, OCTOBER 18. Find the latest Dolfan Satisfaction Meter results in the previous blogpost or see them directly here. 2) Football season means it's the perfect time to delight the Dolfans in your life with our 'Fins At 50' book. Check it out here on Amazon. 3) In The Previous Blogpost (ITPB): Dolphins beat Bears in OT with DSM poll, Hot Button Top 10 & more. 4) Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Facebook and Instagram.

OPENING NIGHT! HEAT BEGIN SEASON OF MYSTERIOUS EXPECTATIONS. YOU SET THE BAR IN NEW POLL: Heat lose opener in Orlando, 104-101, last night despite Goran Dragic's 26 points, Josh Richardson's 21 and Hassan Whiteside's 18 rebounds. Dwyane Wade has 9 off bench on only 3-of-13 shooting. Miami had an early 14-point lead but frittered it away against a bad Magic squad. Disappointing ..... Original post: Miami opens its 31st NBA season -- and Dwyane Wade's last -- tonight at 7 in Orlando, Dwadewhich has six straight losing seasons and is on its fifth coach since 2012. The Magic is the opposite of the steady Heat. It would be a surprise if Miami didn't come away 1-0, even though the Heat battle injury issues with James Johnson and (of course) Dion Waiters out, and Justise Winslow and Wayne Ellington both doubtful. Heat return a largely intact 44-38 team for Erik Spoelstra's 11th season, trying to find a way to get back in the playoffs and improve upon last season's 4-1 first-round ouster by Philadelphia. Wade and Udonis Haslem beginning their final Heat season tops the emotional marquee in Miami. But the trade that didn't happen (or at least hasn't yet) is on the mind. Jimmy Butler. In going hard after him Miami obviously felt it needed the impact player it now lacks to be a real player in the East. The Heat wins with great coaching, stout defense, balanced scoring and depth. But it lacks starpower and an elite playmaker, no knock on Wade (pictured), who is easing toward retirement at age 36. So, sans Butler, how good will the Heat be? Eight of 15 teams make the East playoffs, and Miami should be one of those. Based on ESPN's Power Rankings, Miami is fifth-best in the East. Based on Basketball Power Index win projections, Miami is seventh (at 42.3). The Heat must break into the clear upper tier of the East (Celtics, Raptors, 76ers, Bucks) to earn home-court advantage in the playoffs. Assuming no Butler trade, what are your expectations for this Heat season? Set the bar in this new poll and remember to vote not on what you're hoping for as a fan, but what you are logically expecting and would bet on. Vote now!

HighfiveEXCITING, EXPLOSIVE AND FUN. YES, WE ARE TALKING ABOUT THE DOLPHINS: The Miami Dolphins at 4-2 are a lot of things they typically are not. They're fun. They're a big-play team. They have opponent-beating speed. I explain all the ways they suddenly have become an interesting team ... and why they should be a playoff team this season. Two of the big reasons -- Albert Wilson and Jakeem Grant -- are pictured at left. This is the gist of my latest column. To read it, visit Dolphins Are Fun For A Change, and Playoff-Good.

Other select recent columns: No More Excuses, Florida PanthersTannehill: Requiem For A Quarterback. And With All D.Wade Has Meant, One Year to Say Goodbye Might Not Be Enough.

RYAN WINS WEEK, COUSINS TAKES OVER, OSWEILER COMES UP BIG / MIAMI HERALD NFL QB RANKINGS / WEEK 6: Falcons' Matt Ryan scored a 52.70-point game to Brockowin Week 6 honors and vault to third place in the Herald's latest NFL quarterback rankings. Viking Kirk Cousins displaces Saint Drew Brees for the overall season lead, owing largely to Brees' bye week. Because our rankings are cumulative, players on a bye week take a temporary hit that evens out over the course of a season. Dolphin Brock Osweiler (pictured), filling in for injured Ryan Tannehill, scored a 39.00-point game that ranked fifth for the week. This is our 21st season of Passer Success System (PASS) NFL QB rankings. Our formula is simple and unchanged since its inception in 1998, factoring accuracy, yardage, TD-interception ratio and team result. (Formula detailed below). Most major ranking systems such as the NFL's and ESPN's are complicated and percentile based, allowing QBs who miss half a season to still win a title, while our system is cumulative, rewarding players who are consistently productive and avoid injury or benching. The Top 15 table entering Week 7:

MIAMI HERALD PASS RANKINGS / WEEK 6
RK    LW    Player, Team                        WK6           Season

1       2       Kirk Cousins, MIN                  30.65         250.55

2       1       Drew Brees, NO                    BYE            241.90

3       7       Matt Ryan, ATL                     52.70         231.75

4       3       Jared Goff, LAR                    12.05         221.40

5       5       Patrick Mahomes, KC             33.60         218.25

6       9       Ben Roethlisberger, PIT         44.45         215.65

7       4       Philip Rivers, LAC                  20.35         213.10

8       8       Aaron Rodgers, GB                36.25         208.35

9       6       Andrew Luck, IND                 21.05         202.60

10     13     Tom Brady, NE                       38.00         196.95

11     11     Andy Dalton, CIN                   27.45         193.70

12     10     Derek Carr, OAK                    22.10         192.15

13     14     Joe Flacco, BAL                     29.90         188.40

14     12     Eli Manning, NYG                   16.05         180.10

15     15     Deshaun Watson, HOU           15.85         173.90

27     22     Ryan Tannehill, MIA               DNP           112.60

35     39     Brock Osweiler, MIA               39.00          46.75

        Bubble: Mitch Trubisky, CHI, 164.05. Week 6 best: Ryan, ATL, 52.70 (31-41, 354, 3-0 in win). Week 6 worst: Nathan Peterman, BUF, 0.05 (6-12, 61, 1-2 in loss). Points formula: Accuracy—Completions times two minus attempts. Ex: 17 for 28 = 6 points. Yardage—Five percent of total. Ex: 202 yards = 10.10 points. TD-interception ratio—Difference times three. Ex: Four TDs and one pick = 9 points. Team result—Winning QB of record = 5 points.

Picks LobosNFL WEEK 6 PIX 'N FANTASY RESULTS: SOLID ON PICKS, BUT MORE OH-NO-LOBOS: Every Tuesday in the blog I update you on how I did the past weekend with my Miami Herald predictions and with my LeBatard Show/League Of Lobos fantasy team. The latest: Herald picks: Pretty solid again. We were 11-4 overall but 7-8 against the spread -- our first week sub-.500 ATS, though a survivable stumble. We nailed another Upset of the Week with Steelers winning at Cincy ("Aawwk!"), scored another outright upset with Cowboys beating Jacksonville, and had Bills-with-point over Houston. This hurt: Wrote that our gut feeling was Dolphins over Chicago but changed our mind. Wish I hadn't! Greg's Lobos: Ouch ... again. The Lobos fell to 2-4 with an embarrassing fourth straight loss, beaten by the fruit of our own loins in falling 157.8 to 114.1 to Chris. Got a huge 39.2 points from Tyreek Hill and way too little from anyone else. A combined 20.9 from my QB and two RBs will get you beat most weeks. We've got problems beyond the Le'Veon Bell mess. But knowing that and finding a remedy are two different animals. Still plenty of time. #WeAreTheLobos

COTE'S STATE OF THE STATE RANKINGS: Each Tuesday I rank the state's seven FBS-level college football teams. The latest: 1. UCF (6-0); 2. Florida (6-1); 3. Miami (5-2); 4. South Florida (6-0); 5. Florida State (3-3); 6. FIU (4-2); 7. FAU (3-3).

Other select columns: Kid QB Passes His Big TestWhatever Happened to Kenyan Drake? NFL 2018 Team RankingsDolphins? Heat? Nope. UM Football Owns This TownNFL Enters Year 3 Of Anthem-Protest QuagmireTo The Good-Guy Grinder In The ShadesTime to Flip the Old Narrative On Miami As a Sports TownCan Riley Rescue Heat From Purgatory? When 3 World Cup Legends Were Ours.

Revisit our blog often because we update and add to our latest posts throughout the day.

Twitter @gregcote

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