Power Rankings: Starter edition

Originally Published: January 4, 2010
By Greg Hardy | Special to Page 2

Be totally prepared for whatever the future throws up by chillaxin' down at the Page 2 Power Rankings! Our formula combines the results of two surveys: a human poll concocted by Page 2's Gregory Hardy and a scientifically calibrated poll generated by computer analysis. Unfortunately, the computer we tapped was one that controlled a ski lift that broke when Urban Meyer freaked out halfway up the mountainside on his first vacation in years when he read on his BlackBerry that Florida just lost an inside linebacker commitment to Alabama. To the results!

1. Sitting Your Starters

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
9.4 9.5 18.9

Credentials: Wes Welker wasn't sitting for the Week 17 game against the Texans, but the Patriots wide receiver sure did fall. So now we get the renewed debate: At what point does regular season rest give way to playoff prudence? As always, we here at the Page 2 Power Rankings have the solution: The NFL can have its cake and eat it too by giving teams that are qualified for the playoff the option to have their players on the field in lawn chairs. That way, they're playing AND sitting. Hey, the NFL can even make a buck or two off of it promotionally with team-by-team licensing! Each game would be a three-hour infomercial for these attractive, lightweight and easy transportable team-color lawn chairs, all the while amidst the usual bone-crunching entertainment! Figurative bone-crunching, hopefully.

2. New Year's Fireworks Safety

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
8.9 9.51 18.90

Credentials: Although it's no laughing matter that Toronto Blue Jays infielder Edwin Encarnacion suffered burns to the face after a bottle-rocket mishap in the Dominican Republic, the Power Rankings staff is working around the clock to meet the Miami doctor who successfully treated him. After all, if having fireworks explode around the forehead becomes a trend among major leaguers, that doc could become a noted name in the field ... the Dr. James Andrews of facial fireworks rescue, if you will. As for the rest of us: Are fireworks to the face covered in the new health care bill?

3. Texas Tech Football

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
8.4 8.4 16.8

Credentials: The Red Raiders' former coach used to be famous for spending each offseason thoroughly researching a nonfootball topic. Reported examples have included Daniel Boone, whales and pirates. That got us thinking: What if by some miracle (or the ruling of some crazy judge in a sitcom) the school and Mike Leach came to a settlement so that he could return ... not as coach but as the team's director of tutoring?

4. J-Lo's Catsuit

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
8.7 8.0 16.7

Credentials: Years ago, we probably imagined 2010 would be the year of jet packs and flying cars. Well, it was a swing and a miss on those two. But at least Jennifer Lopez rang in the new year by wearing the type of sparkly, one-piece, futuristic ode to shrink-wrap that lots of past-their-prime actresses have worn in bad sci-fi movies.

5. Warren Beatty Versus Wilt Chamberlain

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
7.9 8.5 16.4

Credentials: Man, what was the deal with being a celebrity in the '60s and '70s? Actor Warren Beatty is denying a new book's claims that he slept with nearly 13,000 women. Which of course brings immediate comparisons to the boast by late NBA great Wilt Chamberlain that he bedded 20,000 women. To get to the bottom of these pop culture myths, the Power Rankings staff is immediately getting to work on a new interview book in which we'll try to find women who've been with both. Hey, statistically for L.A. at that time, even if we're talking about a 1 or 2 percent cross-sample, that's still a few hundred women with two interesting stories apiece. Working title: "Warren and Wilt: Been There, Done Them."

6. Tim Tebow

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
7.6 7.5 15.1

Credentials: Now that the Era of The Chosen One is finished after the Gators' near-perfect Sugar Bowl dismantling of Cincinnati, America needs a new inspirational hero. May we suggest the Taco Bell Diet Lady? Which story is more inspirational -- that one player can attract so much attention with a Heisman Trophy, two BCS titles and "The Promise" ... or that a chalupa here and a chalupa there will help you fit into that bikini by spring break?

7. Gilbert Arenas Gun Standoff

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
7.1 7.4 14.5

Credentials: On the one hand, this is a public relations nightmare for the entire league. On the other hand, this might inspire video game designers to combine "NBA Live" and "Grand Theft Auto" into one faaaaantastic game.

8. Fenway Park Hockey

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
6.8 6.7 13.5

Credentials: Could there be anything sweeter for Boston sports fans than to see their Bruins rally in the NHL's Winter Classic for a 2-1 overtime victory over the Philadelphia Flyers? The only thing that could have made it better was if Red Sox management had used the ice to unveil a permanent exhibit for Ted Williams' head.

9. Kentucky Basketball

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
6.0 5.9 11.9

Credentials: The Wildcats are perfect at 15-0 after a late surge to put down archrival Louisville 71-62. The Rupp Arena crowd was so brutal that Cardinals coach Rick Pitino probably wanted to get out of there faster than a dine-and-dash. OK, that's a bad analogy.

10. Bobby Bowden

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
5.8 5.4 11.2

Credentials: College football lost a huge link to its past when FSU's legendary 80-year-old coach was forced to ride off into the sunset after a 33-21 victory against West Virginia in the Gator Bowl. But the crafty strategist proved he's still got a few tricks up his sleeve. At his post-game news conference, where head-coach-in-waiting Jimbo Fisher was elevated to head coach, Bowden declared that HE is now the new head-coach-in-waiting. And that if he is not elevated to head coach of the FSU football program by 2022, the school will owe him a buyout of $15 million. The FSU athletic department signed off on the deal with one adjustment -- if Bowden is not elevated to head coach by 2022, they will owe him breakfast at Denny's.

11. Giants Stadium's Jets Farewell

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
5.4 5.3 10.7

Credentials: There was triumph Sunday night when the Jets left their home in the Meadowlands having posted a 37-0 embarrassment on the Bengals. But the night was bittersweet, too. Reports streamed in that hundreds of longtime season-ticket holders had just that evening figured out that J-E-T-S does in fact spell "Jets."

12. Lakers Beat Down Mavs

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
4.1 4.7 8.8

Credentials: "Payback for what the Cowboys did to my Eagles," Kobe Bryant said after beating Dallas' NBA team 131-96, in reference to Dallas' NFL team shutting out his hometown Eagles 24-0. But Kobe, don't you think that's a little beneath you? No, we don't mean the trash talk. We mean caring about the actions of two so-called glamour football teams that have won zero championships to your four this century.

13. Winning Houston Texans

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
3.7 4.4 8.1

Credentials: Good news for Houston Texans fans! At 9-7, your team finally has its first winning season! Too bad you didn't qualify for the playoffs, though. Look at the bright side: At least you're better than the Detroit Lions! And we mean waaaaaay better. For instance, did you know that since 2001, the Texans have won 16 more games than the Lions? (4 + 5 + 7 + 2 + 6 + 8 + 8 + 9 = 49 versus 2 + 3 + 5 + 6 + 5 + 3 + 7 + 0 + 2 = 33). Why is this fact significant? BECAUSE THE TEXANS DID NOT EXIST UNTIL 2002.

Also receiving votes:
• Tennessee Volunteers basketball team: Coach Bruce Pearl has announced a new policy: Any players caught by police with guns and marijuana will have to clean his game-worn suits and undershorts for a month. By hand.

• Chris Johnson: The Titans running back notched an amazing 2,006 yards rushing this season but fell short of Eric Dickerson's record of 2,105. Had Johnson hit the mark, he instantly would have been eligible to be a "Monday Night Football" sideline reporter.

• Michael Jackson's "Thriller": The Library of Congress announced this will be the first music video to be preserved for eternity in its prestigious National Film Registry, which now numbers 525 films. Somebody check to see whether its vault might be a safe place to hide when a real zombie invasion goes down.

Never receiving votes:
• Torn-up Citrus Bowl turf: Did you see the minefield-masquerading-as-a-joke-of-a-football-field for the Capital One Bowl between LSU and Penn State in Orlando? Then again, what do you expect but bad jokes about the stadium where they filmed "The Waterboy"?

• Mitch Albom: Lent his voice to depict his getting beaten up and thrown out of the Springfield Retirement Castle on Sunday night's episode of "The Simpsons." If he's not welcome in Springfield, he'll have to move on and make the title of his next book "The Five People You Meet in North Haverbrook."

• Cable programming wars: Which is worse: When your cable provider is at the brink of disconnecting your favorite channels because of fee disputes ... or when after the inevitable rate hike you still find a channel that broadcasts nothing but Season 2 "Growing Pains" reruns?

• Southern Cal's O.J. Mayo scandal: But hey, at least the Trojans' athletics office has yet to break its New Year's resolution -- in 2010, there has yet to be one student-athlete on campus who has taken delivery on a car that's worth more than the house in which he grew up.

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