Commentary

Power Rankings: Usain Bolt edition

Originally Published: August 29, 2011
By Greg Hardy | Special to Page 2

You're off on the wrong foot with the Page 2 Power Rankings! Our formula combines the results of two surveys: a human poll concocted by Page 2's Greg Hardy and a scientifically calibrated poll generated by computer analysis. Unfortunately, our computer spent the weekend plowing through its advance copy of "Madden NFL 12" with the intention of engineering impossible real-life outcomes, such as Terrelle Pryor quarterbacking the Oakland Raiders to the Super Bowl. Well, it's not that such a scenario is mathematically impossible, it's just that it melts the office's Xbox every time it happens. To the results!

1. Usain Bolt DQ

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
9.4 9.1 19.5

Credentials: A long trip to Daegu, South Korea, turned out to be a short day on the track for Usain Bolt, who jumped the gun in the 100-meter final of the IAAF World Championships and was automatically disqualified. To redeem himself and prove that he takes these things seriously, we've learned he's negotiating a potential endorsement deal from a national pizza franchise to prove he can deliver your pizza in 9.58 seconds or less.


2. Fantasy contingencies

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
9.5 9.0 18.5

Credentials: While filling out the roster for our team (this year's nickname: "That's What Favre Said"; we drafted ninth in a 11-team format; yes, it's an uneven number, don't ask), this year's dilemma seemed obvious: Is it worth the risk to draft injured potential playmakers such as Arian Foster and Peyton Manning? We're so tied up in knots that we're on the verge of applying for "fantasy insurance" for the first time. Actually, we don't need insurance as to whether they put up decent numbers. We need insurance from listening to smack talk from those who drafted ahead of us who weren't dumb enough to use a high pick on someone who's at a health risk worse than anyone who tried the fried oysters at our draft party.


3. Little League World Series

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
8.8 8.2 17.0

Credentials: Do you believe in pint-sized miracles? Ring up some cheers of "U-S-A! U-S-A!" after the team of California 12-year-olds pulled off a dramatic victory over Japan to wrestle back the tournament's trophy for the sixth time in seven years. For those of you who think there are too many visuals of heartbroken kids crying from the pain of defeat, we don't think there's enough coverage of TMZ cameramen crying that they can't find anything unseemly to film in South Williamsport, Pa.


4. Jimmer Fredette engagement

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
7.7 8.2 15.9

Credentials: Congrats to the Sacramento Kings rookie for popping the question to longtime girlfriend Whitney Wonnacott. We don't have a lot of time to shop for a wedding present, so do you mind if we ship over a spare Tim Tebow Broncos jersey we've got laying around?


5. College football investigations

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
7.2 7.4 14.6

Credentials: The Page 2 Power Rankings Detective Agency is hard at work trying to crack down on unscrupulous agents, ticket scalpers and gamblers that the NCAA can't uncover. We were close to uncovering that the Miami Hurricanes were engaged in election fraud in 2000, but then we discovered they weren't trying to rig who won the election -- just the line on how many votes made the difference in the state of Florida.


6. Yankees vs. Orioles

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
6.2 6.3 12.5

Credentials: Is Sept. 8 destined to be a day that will live in infamy for the Yankee-Orioles rivalry? The Yankees didn't want to travel back to Baltimore as a make-up date for avoiding Hurricane Irene's wrath, because they claim it interferes with their remaining days off. To apologize and try to prove that they weren't trying to play the role of 800-pound bully gorilla, the Yankees organization has promised to donate copies of "Derek Jeter's Guide To Dating" for the first 10,000 fans through the gates at Camden Yards.


7. College football cupcakes

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
5.4 5.2 10.6

Credentials: The other thing that takes some of the shine off the college football season is the big boys beating up on the weaker sisters. Still, when your BCS-caliber powerhouse opens as a 72-point favorite over the West Carolina Tech Dumb Bunnies, it appears we don't appreciate how many people are betting their children's college funds on some of the action.


8. Pro basketball exhibitions

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
5.2 4.8 10.0

Credentials: Look out, Baltimore. You're hosting an event that is the latest example NBA stars are willing to take their locked-out talents on the road. LeBron James is joining Carmelo Anthony and Chris Paul on a team that will feature Kevin Durant in an exhibition game for charity. In an unrelated story, commissioner David Stern and his lieutenants will send out a memo that Baltimore will never be considered for NBA expansion or relocation.


9. U.S. Open urgency

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
5.1 4.2 9.3

Credentials: We're not saying it's panic time for Americans to end their drought in tennis majors, but someone should check the bylaws that we don't lose our lease on Flushing Meadows if Mardy Fish doesn't at least get to the semifinals. Then again, if Novak Djokovic sails through in dominating style, he deserves to have his 2011 memorialized by at least getting a parking lot named after him.


10. Danica rises

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
4.8 4.2 9.0

Credentials: If you couldn't predict that Danica Patrick would graduate from IRL to NASCAR's Nationwide Series with her eye on the Sprint Cup big boys, you don't have the imagination to write a first draft of a Michael Bay's "Transformers" sequel. For observers who are putting a stop watch on how long it will take for her popularity to wane if she doesn't win, uh, since when is NASCAR popularity tied to winning? Has Dale Earnhardt Jr. won a race since Danica's eighth grade middle school graduation dance?


11. NFL preseason finales

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
4.2 4.0 8.2

Credentials:Well, we're up to the fourth and final week of NFL exhibitions, and once again we're asking: "What's the point of this again?" Of course, this year, because of lockout-shortened training camp, there's a new angle to the "necessary evil or not?" debate. It's not just about future castoffs playing out the string. A lot of teams are searching for identities, or at least the identities of the people who are going to fit into a system. There's a high potential for talented players to get lost in the shuffle. For example, DC Comics is relaunching its entire universe with 52 new No. 1 issues this month. What if it slipped through that Aquaman's new secret identity is a dental floss salesman? That's the type of fate we're afraid is in store for the Redskins quarterback competition.


12. Soccer ticket refund

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
3.7 3.2 6.9

Credentials: An estimated 3,000 Arsenal fans traveled 400 miles to see a game against Manchester United, only to cringe at an 8-2 loss. So Arsenal management promised to give fans a new ticket to another away match to make amends. Which leads to the question: Is a free ticket the ultimate thing management will offer for watching someone's favorite team humiliated? For instance, if it were a 9-2 final decision, would they have offered free viewings of Beyonce's ultrasound? If you thought there were a lot of "unwritten rules" to America's baseball pastime, we say the field of fan humiliation remuneration is even more wide open.


13. Lady Gaga's disguise

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
3.1 3.3 6.4

Credentials: Blink twice if you were confused by her appearance as "Outsiders" Greaser reject Joe Calderone throughout the VMAs. This would have been slightly less bizarre only if she had come out dressed in officially licensed gear of the Hamilton Nationals in a display of sympathy for them losing to the Boston Cannons in the Major League Lacrosse championship game. Hey, wait till next year, Hamilton Nationals, you might get Joe Calderone to sing the national anthem at your regular-season opener!


Also receiving votes
• SEC application process: The nation's most cutthroat college football conference is taking applications for a dance partner for when (presumably) it admits Texas A&M. But the irony about finding the perfect 14th member is that we're guessing it won't come down to someone's sterling résumé. We say the deal-breaker will come down to who has the most consistent on-field mediocrity. The SEC doesn't want another Alabama or LSU wrestling for superiority, and it doesn't want a braniac school competing for bottom-feeder status with Vanderbilt. It wants a program that will consistently go 6-6 to be bowl-eligible and keep its name out of the scandal roundups. SEC member No. 14 can expect to share a boatload of TV money, but shouldn't expect to get within sniffing distance of the league trophy for at least three decades.

Never receiving votes
• The cheap seats: Your party school rep might be in trouble if your college football team's ticket sales office has to dip into the social media bargain bins in order to move product. Boston College took some knocks when word spread that discount game tickets are available on Groupon. Not to knock anyone's frugal fan base, but here's a forecast: Any school that has to sell game tickets on Groupon or Living Social will never have to worry about selling national championship gear on those sites.

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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