Power Rankings: Galaxy Quest Edition

Originally Published: November 21, 2011
By Greg Hardy | Special to Page 2

Get your injury-time smack-talk kicks with's 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 trying to forecast how the SEC West's LSU, Alabama and Arkansas can squeeze into the two final slots for the BCS title game. Best guess: The top spot goes to LSU after Les Miles persuades Baton Rouge boosters to hire Nick Saban and Bobby Petrino as his assistant coaches at halftime of Friday's LSU-Arkansas game. To the results!

1. L.A. Galaxy glory

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
9.5 9.6 19.1

Credentials: It's the storybook ending American soccer fans have been hoping for, if all your sports storybooks end in 1-0 victories: Landon Donovan finds the back of the net in the 72nd minute, and the L.A. Galaxy fulfill their destiny as the kings of the Major League Soccer universe. That's great news for fans of America's greatest soccer player as well as authors of David Beckham tattoo blogs; horrible news if you were trying to get rich off your storage shed full of "Houston Dynamo 2011 MLS Champions!" T-shirts and caps. To make the result feel extra important, we pretended that the European Premier League and the entire planet's national teams were on lockout, and the players on the field had fled to the MLS as an interim protest league. But now it's the morning after, and we have to ask whether Beckham is going to stick around in the States after five years in the league. We say here's the chance for Beckham to become the Michael Jordan of American soccer -- by letting him become owner of the Galaxy and forcing an MLS lockout so that players get less money, which then goes deep into owners' pockets.

2. Sidney Crosby

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
9.5 9.6 18.1

Credentials: It's the great NHL head-scratcher: how the face of the league will perform when he's back on the ice because his head is finally on right after months and months of recuperating from a concussion. Although the best-case scenario is that he can lead Pittsburgh back to the Stanley Cup finals, the Penguins' medical staff concedes that one more major hit to the skull could cause Crosby to enter a mental state where he enjoys the Adam Sandler movie "Jack and Jill."

3. Jay Cutler's broken thumb

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
8.8 8.5 17.3

Credentials: The most important thumb in Chicago's quarterback discussion will be out of action for the rest of the season while recuperating from surgery. This has caused some imaginative fans to imagine whether they should put the team into Brett Favre's waiting fingers. Because right now, Chicago's playoff hopes boil down to asking the special-teams coaches of other teams to pretty please punt to Devin Hester after every possession the rest of the way.

4. Tony Stewart

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
7.6 7.2 14.8

Credentials: Congrats to Smoke for winning the 2011 Sprint Cup Chase title in his signature hard-charging, old-fashioned, two-fisted style. And a tip of the driving helmet to Carl Edwards for the new-school way he's coping with finishing in second place (which, in NASCAR terms, is usually referred to as "the first loser"). "I told my wife, 'If I can't win this thing, I'm going to be the best loser NASCAR has ever had,'" Edwards said. Historically, being NASCAR's best loser meant you didn't replace someone's transmission fluid with month-old bacon grease.

5. Presidents Cup golf glory

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
7.3 7.4 14.7

Credentials: The U.S. team delivered the goods at Royal Melbourne when Tiger Woods beat Australia's Aaron Baddeley. But can Woods ride that momentum to victory in the States in 2012? We suggest he lay low Down Under for however many months until he perfects his short game again. Or stay until he develops an Australian accent. It would give an interesting change of pace to his new Nike commercials, at the very least. The quicker he can evolve into the newest "new" Tiger Woods, the better for everyone.

6. Heisman race

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
6.3 6.3 12.6

Credentials: We're not saying this is the least interesting Stiff Arm Trophy campaign in memory, but word is that the Downtown Athletic Club is mailing its voters a packet that includes, along with a ballot, a bumper sticker that reads, "Honk If You Filled Out Your Three Heisman Votes for Andrew Luck, Andrew Luck and Andrew Luck."

7. Kevin Smith redux

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
5.4 5.3 10.7

Credentials: It's a story we never get tired of: A washed-up player is sitting at home catching up on his DVR backlog of "Modern Family" episodes when he gets a phone call out of nowhere from his old team to suit up. He then saves the day for a playoff contender by running for a career-high 140 yards on 16 carries and scoring three times. We can't wait for three years from now when John Elway flies to the Philippines to drag Tim Tebow away from his orphan hospital to beat the Chargers in Week 17 to win the AFC West.

8. "Breaking Dawn: Part I"

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
5.3 4.8 10.1

Credentials: The fourth installment of the big-screen vampire saga sucked in $139.5 million at the weekend box office. Don't forget the loot raked in from all the extra copies of the original novels that will inevitably fly off the shelves, including quickie tie-ins such as the reference book, "What To Expect When You're Expecting A Baby Who Will Have Awfully Big Fangs."

9. Baseball HGH testing

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
5.3 4.3 9.6

Credentials: Reports indicate that baseball's new labor contract will include blood testing for human growth hormone. Theo Epstein, this is a chance to make a major impact in your new general manager job right away if you can persuade commissioner Bud Selig to invoke his Best Interest of the Game powers to make the contract read: "Blood testing for HGH in all major league clubhouses except the Chicago Cubs."

10. Miami Hurricanes

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
5.1 4.2 9.3

Credentials: In a major concession toward impending NCAA sanctions, the bowl-eligible Canes have announced they will be staying home this December. That's genius thinking by the folks in Coral Gables. Why trudge up north for the Music City Bowl when you can stay in South Beach when nobody's looking and get a head start on your exotic-dancer-visits-on-a-yacht checklist?

11. Perfect Packers

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
4.2 4.5 8.7

Credentials: Green Bay is 10-0, but the road to 19-0 still offers at least two stops against Detroit: the first on Turkey Day on a short week, then in Wisconsin in Week 17 -- and maybe again in the postseason. Note to Cheeseheads: Based on historical precedent, we're going to say we like the odds to accomplish anything that hinges on going 3-0 against the Detroit Lions.

12. NBA lockout

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
4.1 3.2 7.3

Credentials: Remember basketball? Pretty soon, LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Chris Paul and Carmelo Anthony will bring the show on the road for exhibitions in their hometowns sponsored by Google Plus. We'll tune in if at halftime for a sponsorship coup, Blake Griffin promises to make a slam dunk while jumping over his friends circle.

13. Black Friday

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
3.1 2.4 5.5

Credentials: Here's proof that the entire cattle-herd mentality that the retailers use to fuel/fool you waking up at 3 a.m. to buy a flat-screen for $20 is a fraud. Have you ever in your life heard about a big-time athlete landing a huge free-agent contract that includes being entitled to a Black Friday perk? "Sources close to the Lakers say the deal is for four years, with $92 million in incentives, and he'll be allowed to go to the front of the line at Staples on Black Friday to buy an iPad for nickel." Take our advice and sleep in after Thanksgiving and buy stuff for your family that means something other than, "You don't need it, but I got it for 97 percent off."

Also receiving votes
• Urban Meyer: Here's proof that the ex-Florida coach is everywhere and on everyone's minds: It's that time of year when thousands of college football fans will sit on the lap of a shopping mall Santa Claus and ask that Urban Meyer be the next coach of their program. Then Meyer will blow their minds by revealing he was dressed up as that shopping mall Santa.

Never receiving votes
• 0-10 Colts: Did you miss them during their bye week? Some of us are wondering what they'll show they've installed in their playbook to finally get in the win column Sunday when they line up at Lucas Oil Stadium to face the Carolina Panthers. Others among us will tune in to see whether the Colts show up at all Sunday. Because maybe their wisest course of action is to flee the country with no intentions of playing the rest of their schedule. After all, it's impossible to go 0-16 if you go MIA after 10 games.

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

Back to Page 2

• Philbrick: Page 2's Greatest Hits, 2000-2012
• Caple: Fond memories of a road warrior
• Snibbe: An illustrated history of Page 2
Philbrick, Gallo: Farewell podcast Listen

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