Commentary

Power Rankings: Trading Up Edition

Originally Published: August 1, 2011
By Greg Hardy | Special to Page 2

It's time to trade some of your valuable free time for some the finest of free-agent smack talk with the ESPN.com 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, after watching "Cowboys & Aliens," our computer spent the weekend trying to calculate where in the universe it could find intelligent alien life forms who could justify constructing a TV screen bigger than the one at Cowboys Stadium. To the results!

1. NFL names and faces

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
9.7 9.6 19.3

Credentials: The only thing stranger than the thought of no NFL football at all on Sundays is the mental image of Nnamdi Asomugha and Vince Young in Eagles jerseys; Plaxico Burress as a Jet; a South Beach Reggie Bush action figure; and Albert Haynesworth and Chad Ochocinco breaking down film with Bill Belichick. At this point, our heads are so spun around that on the NFL's Thursday opening night for the regular season, Roger Goodell could announce, "Oh, by the way, the San Diego Chargers will be playing as a Los Angeles franchise starting now in a stadium that we finished building this afternoon," and the No. 1 thing fans would be thinking would be, "That's all well and good, but the Chargers didn't suddenly sign to have a Hasselbeck at quarterback, right? OK, it's all good. Reset the clock and replay the down."


2. Baseball trade deadline

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
9.5 9.1 18.6

Credentials: As best we can determine, here are the winners and losers: Winners: The Texas Rangers for locking down setup men Mike Adams and Koji Uehara. Losers: The Houston Astros, for ending up with a roster with so little upside that part of the fallout of the debt ceiling debate is that the United States is soon expected to have a bond rating of "Houston Astros."


3. Besiktas blues

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
8.8 8.4 17.2

Credentials: Are the odds of Kobe Bryant playing for the Turkish basketball club "50 percent" or "zero percent"? We'd put the odds of Kobe's overseas pro basketball destination as an artificial island constructed in international waters by a James Bond villain in the top spot, and Besiktas slightly behind that.


4. Jim Thome

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
7.7 7.4 15.1

Credentials: Who's ready to catch his upcoming 600th home run ball? Mostly, are any Minnesota Twins fans trying to think up clever exchange packages if you catch his 600th home run ball? We're pretty sure the going rate for a Jim Thome 600th home run ball in this economy is a signed batting glove, his 160th and 460th home run balls, an adjustable Twins cap, a fitted Twins cap that's too small for you, and a $10 Target gift card. So remember, bring your mitt to the ballpark!


5. Ryan Lochte

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
7.3 7.6 14.9

Credentials: The U.S. swimmer came home from the Shanghai world championships with five gold medals to Michael Phelps' four. Is this a signal that there's a new top dog in the international waters? It's still a long road until next year's Olympics, but watch to see whether Phelps loses his free refills privileges at Subway until his sponsor is satisfied that the waters are parting for him the right way again.


6. Cheerleading grandma

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
6.4 6.5 12.9

Credentials: Susie Sanchez has entered NFL lore as the 37-year-old grandmother who passed her auditions and graduated to the ranks of Oakland Raiders cheerleader. Now we're wondering whether there are any 20-year high school reunions in the country that have as a senior superlative, "Most Likely To Still Be Working It in a Cheerleader Uniform on Grandparents' Day."


7. Derek Jeter total access

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
5.9 5.8 11.7

Credentials: Anyone interested in The Captain's collision course path to 3,000 hits should check out the HBO Sports documentary "Derek Jeter 3K" -- a project for which it seems Derek Jeter had say over the final cut. But the show does succeed in showing how much Jeter has in common with the rest of us. For example, during interview scenes with girlfriend Minka Kelly, it reminded us that if someone commissioned a documentary about us for which we had final cut, we too would insist that the final version showed Minka Kelly as our girlfriend.


8. Tseng triumphs

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
5.4 4.8 10.2

Credentials: The 22-year-old sensation strikes again by being the youngest golfer to claim five major titles. Do you realize the odds of that happening? Breaking this down with our stats computer (i.e., calculator), that averages out to Yani winning a major every 4.4 years of her life. Seriously, did you even come close to winning three majors by the time you were 13 years, 2 months old? And all she's going to do is pick up the pace from here.


9. Your fantasy draft

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
5.4 4.2 9.6

Credentials: How maddening is it that everyone's going to have practically zero time to prepare for their league's draft party? Still, it's that inherent zaniness that has us wondering why HBO can't commission its "Hard Knocks" filming crew to find America's most drama-filled collection of draft obsessives and film their days leading up to the draft in lieu of a training camp reality show. We suggest asking old friend Rex Ryan to narrate the scene introductions to lend gravitas.


10. "Rise of the Planet of the Apes"

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
5.3 4.2 9.5

Credentials: Have you seen the astonishing CGI work in the trailers for this franchise reboot? Still, call us nostalgic because we prefer those cheapo '70s sequels where the ape costumes look less convincing than the costumes used by financially strapped developmental basketball teams that had a gorilla mascot miss their slam dunk attempts off a trampoline during timeouts.


11. NCAA hoops compliance

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
4.2 4.2 8.4

Credentials: Duke basketball is under the microscope as to whether coach Mike Krzyzewski had improper phone contact with recruit Alex Poythress, but under a very minor provision. How minor a violation are we talking about? Reportedly, Coach K accidentally dialed Poythress' phone number to order a pizza. And now, NCAA investigators are trying to determine if a confused Poythress then delivered that pizza in 30 minutes or less.


12. Tripping Icarus

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
4.5 3.2 7.7

Credentials: Never heard of this band? You're about to if you listen to Minnesota Vikings news conferences. Punter Chris Kluwe is exchanging his purple No. 5 jersey with the understanding that the quarterback will plug the band in five news conferences this season. Hey, T.I., we'll plug you in the Power Rankings five more times if you promise to give us pieces of the Metrodome ceiling you bring down by punting the ball that high.


13. Smurf Fever

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
3.2 3.3 6.5

Credentials: Congrats to the li'l blue crew for bringing in $36.2 million worth of green at the box office in its opening weekend. But too bad the franchise isn't a Disney property. We would have been looking forward to a cross-promotional opportunity of "College Football Live" plugging a Lee Corso interview with college football handicapper Brainy Smurf while on location atop Boise State's Smurf Turf.


Also receiving votes
• X Games 17: It's inspirational stories such as Travis Pastrana climbing back into the RallyCross picture after shattering his right leg and foot in a 720 attempt that make us believe that the future will always be healthy and strong for the extreme sports franchise. After all, who knows what crazy injuries will be conquered decades from now once jetpack competition is be allowed.

Never receiving votes
• 10,000 losses: Well, on the bright side, even in the franchise's darkest years, the Atlanta Braves never suffered more than 5,000 of those losses in a row. To commemorate the frustrating milestone, Bobby Cox has agreed to return for one game in order to wear a jersey with "10,000L" on the back, throw a tantrum and get ejected.

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


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

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 Twitter.com/HardyVision.

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