Commentary

Rankings: Tyrant Democracy Edition

Originally Published: December 5, 2011
By Greg Hardy | Special to Page 2

It's time to be a big coaching fish in a small college pond with ESPN.com'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 so much time reviewing "Les Miles chews on grass" articles that it started a text message campaign among LSU players to try to get them to fill up a Gatorade barrel full of fresh-cut lawn clippings to dump on the Tigers coach for the celebratory aftermath of the SEC title game. To the results!

1. The coaches' poll


Human PollComputer PollPower PointsTrending
9.89.719.5

Credentials: We're operating under the assumption that it's a privilege and not a right for college football coaches to vote in the USA Today coaches' poll (although we assume one of the assignment's perks is getting free delivery of the USA Today). But how is it a fair system when some coaches who have a dog in the BCS title fight have a vote (LSU's Les Miles and Alabama's Nick Saban, for starters) but others who might want their voices heard -- say, Oklahoma State's main man, Mike Gundy -- don't get to vote? And are we supposed to look the other way after Saban votes the Cowboys No. 4 on his ballot, when voting them No. 3 might work against the Tide's having enough votes to get to No. 2 in the final picture? Well, it could have been worse: Saban could have used spots 3-10 to vote for every football program in Oklahoma except Okie State: "Yup, here's my ballot: I've got LSU No. 1, us No. 2, then Oklahoma, Oklahoma Tech, Oklahoma A&M, North-Southeastern Oklahoma, Oklahoma-Lafayette, Oklahoma-Indiana, Oklahoma Cosmetology Institute, Oklahoma Panhandle, and then, oh yeah, Oklahoma State. Go Cowboys!"


2. Tiger Woods


Human PollComputer PollPower PointsTrending
9.59.118.6

Credentials: All it took was a 1-shot win over Zach Johnson in the Chevron World Challenge for the world's former No. 1 golfer to erase a 749-day victory drought. To put that in perspective: If Tiger Woods had a DVD from a video rental store that was 749 days overdue, he would owe enough in late fees that it would take a 90 percent chunk out of his winnings from all those tourneys in between when he was an also-ran. And because we respect Tiger's privacy, we won't ask whether that was an adult DVD he was hanging on to for so long.


3. College football, now and then


Human PollComputer PollPower PointsTrending
8.88.417.2

Credentials: Sequels suck. We know there are 100 "Breakin' 2: Electric Boogaloo"s for every "The Godfather: Part II." But there's already a plan in the works to make sure LSU versus Alabama doesn't get mired in our-eyes-glazed-over mode. Word is, Les Miles has approached ESPN with a plan to film re-enactments of scenes from his life that show how he rose through the coaching ranks and became the feared boss he is today. And during the BCS title game broadcast, the narrative will switch back and forth from present-day game action to the flashbacks, à la "Godfather: Part II." The only thing holding this up is arranging for Francis Coppola to be in the broadcast booth the night of the game so he can telestrate Miles' character arc.


4. Go ice yourself


Human PollComputer PollPower PointsTrending
7.77.315.0

Credentials: First of all, Dallas coach Jason Garrett did not "ice" Cowboys kicker Dan Bailey in Phoenix. It was just bad luck and miscommunication that they had to call timeout just before his 49-yard kick sailed through the uprights, which was followed by the rookie flubbing his do-over. Bad stuff easily can happen in an enemy stadium. But if in the next Cowboys home game, Bailey lines up for a game winner and the mega-Jerry World jumbovision starts flashing the words "BLOCK THAT KICK!!!"? That definitely would qualify as messing with the young man's head.


5. Suh's suspension


Human PollComputer PollPower PointsTrending
7.17.314.4

Credentials: Before Ndamukong Suh drives a car into any more trees at 1 in the morning, we'd like to propose ways the Detroit Lions defensive tackle can make a buck while riding out his two-game suspension. We were going to suggest starring in one of those "buy a luxury car with an oversized ribbon on top" commercials, but obviously that's out of the question now. Maybe there's still time for him to film one of those celebrity "World of Warcraft" spots as a Super Bowl ad in which he and his avatar can show off their signature stomping moves. After all, that's the only way we're going to see anyone on the Lions on Super Bowl Sunday at this point.


6. Super Madonna


Human PollComputer PollPower PointsTrending
6.26.412.6

Credentials: Just in case you had any plans to get off your couch during halftime of Super Bowl XLVI (Spoiler alert! The Packers will beat the Ravens in overtime, 27-24), the NFL announced that Madonna will be strutting the stage at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis this February. We'd love to have been on hand for the negotiations for how Madonna's reps could assure the sponsors that the performance will be Janet Jackson-proof. After all, was there any Madonna tour ever in history that couldn't have been titled "The Wardobe Malfunction Tour"?


7. Heisman vote


Human PollComputer PollPower PointsTrending
5.45.210.6

Credentials: If you ask us, a vote for Robert Griffin III is a vote for progress. As in, the Baylor quarterback is one of the few viable candidates left who knew how to end his season on an upswing. And c'mon, let's give the Big 12 Conference something to be excited about this year. The 10-team league's national title contender got screwed out of playing the big game, member schools came and went like they were bar hopping to different happy hours, and they don't even have a conference title game anymore. In fact, after RGIII wins the Stiffarm Trophy, name him Big 12 commissioner. It'll be exciting just to watch him run through the league office halls every day.


8. Miami Marlins


Human PollComputer PollPower PointsTrending
5.34.810.1

Credentials: What would South Florida look like the next few summers with Jose Reyes and Albert Pujols in the batting order for the new-look Miami Marlins? Hard to tell. Since 98 percent of a typical Marlins crowd roots for the other team, all the transplants from New York and the Midwest might not know whether to cheer the former player from their original hometown team or boo him for jumping ship. Just something to think about when the retractable roof is stuck open during rain delays.


9. NBA Christmas


Human PollComputer PollPower PointsTrending
5.34.49.7

Credentials: In addition to having a five-game slate on Opening Christmas Day instead of the original planned three, each of the hosting arenas as a courtesy is considering arranging with major retailers to operate "exchange kiosks," where fans can have the convenience of returning unwanted Christmas morning gifts. The only real drawback to this is if the gift-giver gets insulted that the gift she pepper-sprayed so many people to get on Black Friday went for naught. So, a warning to TV viewers: There might be game delays to air out the NBA arenas if Family Feud pepper-spray battles break out.


10. Timmy's playoff chase


Human PollComputer PollPower PointsTrending
5.34.19.4

Credentials: He's gone from Timmy Terrific to Timmy Tiebreaker. As in the Broncos are now tied with the Raiders for the top of the AFC West. And if you think Tebow has gotten a lot of media attention when 32 teams are playing each week, imagine the spotlight when we've cut down to 12. Until then, the debate will shift from "Can Tebow be an NFL quarterback?" to "Is Tebow a choke artist who can't carry his team to the postseason?" And, in an unrelated story, because NFL-caliber quarterbacks can be found loafing about in any NFL city's localized Occupy Wall Street encampment, the Kansas City Chiefs' Tyler Palko beat the Chicago Bears' Caleb Hanie in a 10-3 game that featured 227 total passing yards and where the only touchdown pass came on a 38-yard desperation heave. You're welcome!


11. Manny wants back


Human PollComputer PollPower PointsTrending
4.14.38.4

Credentials: Looks who wants back in to the majors in 2012. Why, 39-year-old Manny Ramirez has filed to rejoin the fun. We didn't realize that in the new baseball labor contract that teams were allowed to sign players tn the roster strictly for the purpose of sitting at an autograph table in the concourse.


12. NHL realignment


Human PollComputer PollPower PointsTrending
4.23.37.5

Credentials: When was the last time your favorite sport added a team from Winnipeg out of the blue and it kinda screwed with the East-West conference balance? Yeah, that's the problem the NHL is facing. The solution is either one West team hops to the East or the entire league gets restructured. Our vote is to expand with six more teams in Arizona and New Mexico and switch to a North-South conference structure. Ha ha, that was just a test to make sure the NHL has gotten the "Sun Belt expansion virus" out of its system.


13. NFL TV jackpot


Human PollComputer PollPower PointsTrending
3.12.45.5

Credentials: The NFL is close to nailing down its new contracts with CBS, Fox and NBC, and Sports Business Journal is reporting that the league's fees will increase 60 percent, with every network on the hook for at least $1 billion a year. Because people can't get enough of the superior televised product of NFL football. Such as seeing whether over the next decade Tyler Palko can continue his unmitigated dominance over Caleb Hanie.


Also receiving votes

• Our favorite bowl pairing: Scanning through the college postseason landscape, this matchup caught our eye: It's Illinois versus UCLA in the Fight Hunger Bowl (on ESPN, Dec. 31, 3:30 p.m. Eastern, set your DVR!). That's right, the Fight Hunger Bowl will be played by two schools that just fired their head coaches. What a cruel way to rub it in that the Zook and Neuheisel families are going to have a harder time putting food on the table (until their multimillion-dollar payout checks are cashed, at least). Maybe next year, the Fight Hunger Bowl can pit one team with a fired coach against one team with a secure-in-his-job coach. And it can be dubbed "The Bread Winners versus The Bread Losers."

Never receiving votes

• "Every game matters": We say a fond farewell to our favorite catchphrase in connection with the college football schedule. You know, the catchphrase that's trumpeted to justify the fact that no playoff system is necessary because the regular season serves as a de facto elimination tournament. Hmm, could this catchphrase be repurposed in the NFL? Uh, probably not. Or at least you try telling season-ticket holders for the 0-12 Colts "Every game matters."

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

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

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