Power Rankings: Death penalty edition

Originally Published: August 22, 2011
By Greg Hardy | Special to Page 2

Run out the clock while you wait for your favorite college football program to inevitably get busted for something at the Page 2 Power Rankings! Our formula combines the results of two surveys: a human poll concocted by ESPN Page 2's Greg Hardy and a scientifically calibrated poll generated by computer analysis. Unfortunately, our computer spent the weekend calculating the mathematical models for the next two decades' worth of Kardashian divorce settlements. To the results!

1. Death penalty vs. Ponzi scheme

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
9.4 9.6 19.0

Credentials: The Miami Hurricanes' scandal has us wondering which river we'd rather be up a creek without a paddle. On the one hand, having your college program shut down even for one year has to have dire effects on everything from screwing up your multi-million dollar TV deal to how many cheap student bookstore T-shirts you sell, and thus should be avoided at all costs. On the other hand, being a victim of a Ponzi scheme is one of the hippest things you can do these days short of landing a recurring role on "True Blood." And at least there's a chance a judge can order you get repaid a shiny nickel for every $500,000 you've invested. So someone sell us on your get-rich-quick scheme before New Year's rolls around and we find out our AutoZone Liberty Bowl victory is going to be vacated.

2. Colts QB watch

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
9.5 9.0 18.5

Credentials: Memo to Indianapolis owner Jim Irsay about tweeting you're in Hattiesburg, Miss., to make us think you're looking to sign a certain 41-year-old journeyman quarterback: Save the comedy for the professionals, OK? You walking the land looking to talk Brett Favre into putting a horseshoe on his helmet is not funny. Having Brett Favre walking the land to restore order to small towns thanks to his kung fu expertise is our sitcom pilot script that's being optioned at ABC. We're trying to land Peyton Manning a cameo as Favre's ill-fated sidekick whose demise Favre must avenge, so don't blow this for us.

3. LSU fisticuffs

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
8.8 8.2 17.0

Credentials: Police are interested in getting the story from quarterback Jordan Jefferson and some teammates about what went down in a closing-time Baton Rouge bar fight. We're interested in getting the story from Les Miles -- the tale he tells players during private talks on team flights about how he once battled a polar bear and a python to the death with his bare hands while only wearing a loin cloth in the basement of a members-only Bourbon Street supper club.

4. Terrelle Pryor

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
7.7 7.2 14.9

Credentials: Of course it would be the Oakland Raiders who would nab the former Buckeyes QB in the supplemental draft. Insert "JaMarcus Russell Comeback Player of the Year" award here.

5. A-Rod's back

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
7.1 7.4 14.5

Credentials: The Yankees third baseman returned from more than a month and a half on the DL and a stint in the poker scandal newsfeeds by going 0-for-5 in his return against the Twins. Manager Joe Girardi said the important thing is that his star told him his knee felt great. And we'll pay $1 to the first beat reporter who asks Girardi the follow-up question, "Any possibility that you think A-Rod was bluffing when he told you that? Do you know how to look for any of his 'tells'?"

6. Plaxico's back

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
6.2 6.3 12.5

Credentials: The receiver impressed in his J-E-T-S debut by catching an over-the-shoulder touchdown pass in his first preseason action. Giants fans and neighbors, don't get jealous by claiming you only root for receivers who can catch the football with the help of the side of their helmet.

7. NFL jackpots

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
5.4 5.1 10.5

Credentials: Congratulations to Larry Fitzgerald for signing a deal in the neighborhood of eight years, $120 million with the Cardinals. Good luck to Chris Johnson, who is holding out with the Titans until they can pay him, oh, maybe $120 million and 26 cents. Johnson does know the lockout ended and everyone else is getting ready to play and get paid, right? Just wondering if maybe Chris didn't realize this and thought that was why it was smart not to be suiting up right now.

8. World's highest-paid soccer player

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
5.2 4.8 10.0

Credentials: The Russian club Anzhi Makhachkala is getting ready to dig deep into its soccer shorts and pay Eto'o $28.8 million a year for three years, if reports are correct. We have it on authority that this will also mean the brand of shin guards Eto'o will endorse just shot up its retail price to $15,000 a pair.

9. Djokovic stumbles in Cincy

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
5.1 4.2 9.3

Credentials: Novak Djokovic, the most exciting men's tennis player of the year, saw his 16-match win streak end and his record fall to 57-2 because of a sore shoulder that forced him to quit the finals of the Western & Southern Open outside of Cincinnati. While this throws open all sorts of intriguing possibilities into the U.S. Open brackets, the Bengals jumped on the P.R. opportunity and signed him to play linebacker so that he can use their crack medical staff until he recovers.

10. Padraig Harrington

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
5.0 4.2 9.2

Credentials: Just in case you think a pro golfer's career doesn't involve sacrifice, check this out. Harrington entered the weekend ranked 130th in the FedEx Cup standings, knowing that after the Wyndham Championship only the top 125 golfers advance to the playoffs. So he canceled a family vacation in the Bahamas and beelined to Greensboro, N.C., where he finished at 6-under and advanced to 124th in the standings. Compare this to your life, where you had to cancel your long-awaited golf vacation because the battery died in your 1996 Corolla. At least Padraig can afford the cancelation fee on his spa appointments.

11. "Survivor: South Pacific"

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
4.2 4.0 8.2

Credentials: Meet Mikayla Wingle, a cast member for the new season who lists her occupation as "lingerie football player." This automatically makes her the most popular New Jersey-native player on the Tampa Breeze roster and further validates management's decision in last year's draft to bypass Snooki.

12. Cubs help wanted

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
4.0 3.2 7.2

Credentials: Talk about taking one for the team. Jim Hendry said it was July 22 when he was informed he wasn't going to be invited back as general manager, but he kept the news under his Cubbies cap until Aug. 19 so as not to jeopardize the signing of draft picks. Now, putting his tenure in perspective, we wonder if that also means that at some point before Oct. 14, 2003, Steve Bartman had sent Hendry an email that read, "Great news! I scored terrific seats for the playoffs!" and Hendry didn't tell anyone about that, either.

13. "Conan the Barbarian"

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
3.1 2.3 5.4

Credentials: Box-office numbers for the reboot of the corny sword and sorcery saga were as underwhelming as the number of Oscars sitting on Arnold Schwarzenegger's vacation home fireplace mantle. Maybe to boost its ratings by the time it gets to cable TV, the footage should be billed as an infomercial for a chain of discount tanning salons.

Also receiving votes
• Your fantasy draft: We'd hate to interrupt your fevered cram session to figure out what QBs you're going to select by stating the obvious, but Broncos coach John Fox has forced our hand to warn you not to pick Tim Tebow. Oh, we don't just mean not picking him for your fantasy team, we mean picking Timmy's house in Denver to hold your draft. It was gracious of him to invite fans over if everyone couldn't agree to anywhere else to gather, but at this point you and your friends and your charts and magazines would probably only get in the way of the moving van people.

Never receiving votes
• The year 2020: The U.S. Olympic Committee reportedly has told New York, Chicago and Dallas that America's not going to throw its red, white and blue hat into the International Olympic Committee's ring for dibs on that year's summer games. Oh well, maybe it's no big loss. Besides, if we still haven't pulled out of a recession by then, the only "gold medals" we'd be able to hand out would be ones made by spray-painting surplus bootleg DVD copies of Justin Bieber concert films.

Greg Hardy is a Page 2 contributor. It's all pop culture all the time at

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Greg Hardy is a Page 2 contributor. It's all pop culture all the time at