Power Rankings: Broncos edition

Originally Published: September 7, 2010
By Greg Hardy | Special to Page 2

Get set to labor through another day with 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 is serving a four-week suspension as mandated by Roger Goodell after it was caught trying to rig the Cleveland Browns into having an 83-man roster. Hey, you come up with a better way for the Browns to gain a competitive edge against the rest of the NFL. To the results!

1. Boise State Crybabies

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
9.7 9.8 19.5

Credentials: What is it about being an underdog in college football that brings out the excuse makers? By that, we mean people who make excuses for the teams the Broncos beat. "Oh, well, Boise is too small to be up to the grind of a college playoff against the best of the best." Really? What if the Broncos are ready? What would the excuses sound like? "Oh, well, the reason Boise State advanced was because it played in the weakest bracket! … The Broncos' hotel rooms were free of bedbugs! … The sun wasn't in their eyes! … They videotaped the other team's practice! … They jinxed the other team by wearing white road uniforms at home! … And, uh, they made better use of their time by thoroughly preparing for the matchup!" … That said, beating an ACC team in Week 1 shouldn't earn anyone an automatic ticket to the BCS title game. Heck, the winner of the ACC title game still hasn't figured out how to get to the BCS title game.

2. NFL Opening Night

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
9.2 9.2 18.4

Credentials: There have been many fine years when the NFL season ended in New Orleans with a Super Bowl. Well, this year, break out the beads early because the Saints kick off the season at home Thursday night against Brett Favre and the Vikings. But here's the question: Does Favre, in the debut of his Retirement Tour of Revenge 2010, throw more touchdowns or interceptions? And will the total of his touchdowns and interceptions be greater or less than the number of players Roger Goodell has suspended to start Roger Goodell's Suspension Tour of Revenge 2010? And players: After the game, when you're on Bourbon Street, remember: There will be eyes aplenty on you indeed. Can't you afford a nice hotel room anyway?

3. Revis Returns

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
8.6 8.5 17.1

Credentials: For you readers looking to break into the TV business, here's the difference between a reality show and a scripted series. "Hard Knocks" is a reality show, so it can examine the holdout of Jets cornerback Darrelle Revis as the drama unfolds in real time. If it had been a scripted series, the producers would have had to: (A) digitally insert footage of Revis in the background; (B) write his character off with an explanation that he has returned to college and won't be back for several years; or (C) hire an out-of-work actor as a replacement to say his lines. Hmmm, has anyone seen Malcolm-Jamal Warner?

4. $75,000 or Bust

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
7.9 7.8 15.7

Credentials: According to research in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, your happiness is tied to your salary up to about $75,000 per year before things level out. Which means we now can use science to prove that it's right for us to gamble. After all, how else besides picking winners can we triple our salary to $75,000? That also suggests to us that people who gamble their way to $75,000 are twice as happy as those who earn that much in a 9-5 job -- because gamblers also experience the euphoria of seeing a bet pay off. So, now, if you'll excuse us, our road to happiness will be fully financed as long as the Padres win the NL West, A.J. Burnett wins three playoff decisions and Tim Tebow is the Super Bowl XLV MVP.

5. Caroline Wozniacki

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
7.1 7.7 14.8

Credentials: It's great that her tennis success has made the Yale football team part of her cheering section. As long as we don't find out that "Wozniacki" is the new secret password to gain entrance to the Skull and Bones Society. Then again, it is a secret club, so we wouldn't know.

6. Soccer Beats Baseball

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
6.2 6.6 12.8

Credentials: The Triple-A Portland Beavers -- who have had made Portland their home pretty much since 1903 -- are now homeless. They were given the red card to leave their digs to make room for an MLS expansion team that wants a soccer-only stadium. Is this a sign of futbol's rise and baseball's decline in society overall? Maybe, maybe not. But we just want to be on guard that minor league baseball teams won't try to make up ground with corny promotions of Vuvuzela Giveaway Nights.

7. Tiger Woods

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
5.8 5.4 11.2

Credentials: It's official: He'll be on the Ryder Cup team as a captain's pick. See? He hasn't lost all his endorsements.

8. Don Draper vs. Cassius Clay

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
5.3 5.6 10.9

Credentials: Even though the "Mad Men" protagonist makes it known he's a Sonny Liston man on the night of the 1965 rematch, Draper is in a unique position to give Muhammad Ali an entryway into the world of being a sports hero pitchman. Actually, a better twist in a future episode would be to see George Foreman trick Draper into handing over his idea for a newfangled meat grill he was planning to have Ali endorse.

9. John Lindsey Called Up

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
5.4 5.4 10.8

Credentials: The Dodgers have purchased the contract of a guy who's been in the minors for 15 years. Just think of all the changes the game has seen since Lindsey started toiling for his shot: the steroids era, expansion teams, contraction talk, A-Rod's contract, Manny being Manny, the Mitchell report, Clemens aiming a bat at Piazza, a tied All-Star Game, Steve Bartman … . No wonder it took Lindsey so long to break through, he had to learn a completely different ballgame since 1995.

10. T.J. Houshmandzadeh Traded Again

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
4.7 5.6 10.3

Credentials: We'll give a crisp, shiny dollar to any fan who can prove he or she owns Houshmandzadeh jerseys for the Bengals, Seahawks and Ravens. Ten bucks if it's spelled correctly on each jersey.

11. Matt Leinart, Journeyman

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
4.8 4.6 9.4

Credentials: As the former Trojans golden boy packs his bags to flee Arizona in favor of Houston, it begs the question for USC fans: Which would be more embarrassing to see -- your running back's Heisman Trophy taken away because of scandal, or your quarterback pawning it for bus fare?

12. Wings Upset

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
4.6 4.4 9.0

Credentials: Move over, Joey Chestnut. This year's National Buffalo Wing Festival competitive eating title went to Sonya Thomas, aka The Black Widow. This 5-foot-tall, 100-pound, 43-year-old spitfire chowed down 181 chicken wings in 12 minutes compared with your 169. Our advice for Chestnut and his big gut in the next competition together: She's so small, you can just devour her and honestly try to claim you thought she was a mini-drumstick.

13. NFL TV Blackouts

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
2.1 1.3 3.4

Credentials: As many as 11 NFL teams could be in danger of not selling enough tickets and thus triggering blackout TV conditions. Well, some of that has to do with the fact that it's nicer to watch the game on hi-def at home. You know, where $10 buys a fine six-pack of craft beer instead of one watered-down light beer. It's all about value. Spread the word that you're adding rookie hazing to the non-televised halftime festivities and you've just made sure the fans will stay seated until at least the start of the third quarter.

Also receiving votes
• The "win or die" pool: Also known in the ESPN Fantasy games arcade as the Eliminator Challenge. You know the rules. Pick one winner of an NFL game each week, but you can't pick that team again the rest of the season. One wrong week, and you're history. We like the Giants in Week 1, if only because we're sure New York can force the Panthers into a game plan in which they're better off throwing the ball out of bounds every down rather than to their receiving corps beyond Steve Smith.

Never receiving votes
• "Wall Street" sequel: We're still not sure we like the strange subtitle "Money Never Sleeps." There's something about it that just seems randomly Mad-Libbed. Like, sprinkle any noun and verb onto the construction "[Blank] Never [Blanks]" and it's ready for the multiplex. Well, they couldn't do "Tomorrow Never Dies" because James Bond and Teri Hatcher already claimed dibs. How about we call the next sequel "Shia LaBeouf Never Bathes."

• College football cupcake scheduling: The college football regular season is a joke as far as we're concerned until Jacksonville State and North Dakota State meet. Ducking each other is not the answer, settle it on the field.

• Angola's basketball team: Thank you for playing; please drive through to the second window to complete your purchase.

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