Commentary

Power Rankings: SEC Green Day Edition

Originally Published: November 7, 2011
By Greg Hardy | Special to Page 2

Missouri TigersAP Photo/Jeff RobersonMissouri chancellor Brady Deaton, left, and SEC commissioner Mike Slive announce the decision.

Welcome to the colorful world of smack talk in 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, our computer spent the weekend trying to figure out cheat codes for "Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3" that would allow you to fight your way unscathed through Oakland Coliseum on game day. To the results! To the results!

1. SEC's true colors

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
9.4 9.6 19.0

Credentials: Because we consider college football to be one of mankind's highest forms of art, we couldn't help but notice: How is it that the Southeastern Conference has expanded to 14 teams, but not one of those programs counts green as a school color? Well, at least not since the Tulane Green Wave left after 1966. Seriously, the SEC counts two teams as Bulldogs, three teams as Tigers -- but green doesn't match anything in anyone's closet? Seriously, SEC office, provide an incentive for one of those three Tigers schools to change its mascot and Go Green. Then again, there's one green that all SEC schools are fans of, and we'll paraphrase the revelation we once saw on a gal's Match.com profile: "My favorite color is money green." Cha-ching.


2. Super Bowl redux

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
9.5 9.0 18.5

Credentials: Thanks to Eli Manning's elite command of the Giants' offense against the Patriots' pass defense, fans and sports writers have been falling all over themselves in marveling how this weekend's game was almost exactly like the Giants-Patriots Super Bowl XLII ending. Which begs the question: Which Super Bowl fantastic finish rematch would you like to see come to life again? Buffalo Bills fans, obviously you're not allowed to vote.


3. Les Miles

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
8.8 8.7 17.5

Credentials: By virtue of winning this year's college football Game of the Century, we hereby nominate to close the voting and elect LSU's mastermind to be the entire century's Coach of the Century. Simply put, he's the Steve Jobs of elite-level college football showdowns. Go ahead and ask him if he thinks he's the Steve Jobs of college football coaches, and Miles will probably tell you that the only reason he didn't bother to invent the iPod was that Steve Jobs had already invented it. Can't argue with that logic.


4. NBA hardliners

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
7.4 7.2 14.6

Credentials: Yes, we're all well beyond the point of "No deal has been reached" headline fatigue when it comes to the NBA lockout. But more and more these days, we're hearing some owners being described as "hardliners." As a public service, we thought we'd describe the three main, non-negotiable deadline demands that qualify an owner as a "hardliner": 1) Players accept 47 percent of basketball-related income; 2) players have to pay for NBA title rings out of their pockets; and 3) the fourth quarter of every game will now be played with an orange bowling ball. That's the offer, take it or leave it.


5. Tim Tebow

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
7.2 7.5 14.7

Credentials: Look who's improved to 2-1 as a starter this season! The Tebow faithful are already crowing that If you looked up "intangible" in the dictionary, you'd see & well, it's hard to describe. But it looks a lot like Tim Tebow in victory formation.


6. Philip Rivers

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
6.2 6.3 12.5

Credentials: At some point, you have to take pity on the kid. Between mishandling the snap in the Chiefs game, leading the NFL with 14 interceptions and having to listen to Norv Turner for instructions, nothing's going his way. Probably the only sign of disrespect left opposing coaches could show him is whenever San Diego is lining up for a potential game-winning drive they start calling timeouts to ice him. Sure, it usually never works with kickers, but at this point they might as well test if all this is turning Rivers fragile as a snow globe.


7. 49ers domination

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
5.3 5.2 10.5

Credentials: Can someone please check which flavor Gatorade Jim Harbaugh has San Francisco drinking on the sideline and pass some around to the rest of the NFC West? At 7-1, the 49ers could find themselves battling for home-field advantage throughout the NFC playoffs out of the same division that sent the 7-9 Seahawks into the postseason last season. And they still have to play Arizona twice and St. Louis twice? The good news is that Alex Smith becoming the Super Bowl MVP has nothing to do with running up the score on the Seahawks.


8. Horse of the Year?

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
5.2 4.8 10.0

Credentials: With Drosselmeyer's upset win at the Breeders' Cup, horse racing enthusiasts are upset that the competition for Horse of the Year honors is going to default to a pony with a less-than-stellar 2011 résumé. Sorry to let you down, jockey sniffers, but Horse of the Year is never an award we get excited for. It's easily the source of the worst monosyllabic acceptance speech of the year in sports this side of Bill Belichick winning an ESPY.


9. Kyle Busch punished

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
5.2 4.2 9.4

Credentials: NASCAR took away the car keys from its anger-management-issues poster boy for Saturday and Sunday's races after he intentionally wrecked championship contender Ron Hornaday Jr.'s truck during Friday night's race. Which is about as harsh a penalty as NASCAR can deliver on short notice this side of forcing Busch to drive with 80 cinder blocks in his trunk. Even more upset was Busch's primary Sprint Cup sponsor, M&Ms, which publicly rebuked the driver by announcing that for the final two Chase races Busch will only be allowed to eat peanut butter M&Ms, which, let's face it, even at their freshest taste nowhere as good "E.T."-era Reese's Pieces.


10. MLS Cup

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
4.6 4.2 8.8

Credentials: Who ya got? It's the L.A. Galaxy versus the Houston Dynamo for all the soccer marbles. Now we just have to wait through all the sleepless nights of buildup before they kick off on Nov. 20 at the Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif. Good news if you couldn't afford a $500 nosebleed ticket to the LSU-Alabama game: For $500 at the MLS Cup, they'll let you personally ink your own design for a new shoulder tattoo onto David Beckham.


11. NYC Marathon

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
3.2 3.7 6.9

Credentials: Congratulations to Kenya's Geoffrey Mutai, who scampered 26.2 miles in 2 hours, 5 minutes, 6 seconds to set the course record by 2 minutes, 37 seconds. For that, he won $200,000. Which seems awfully cheap for a New York sports champion, compared to what most Yankees players make -- and they barely move 26.2 feet during a 162-game regular season.


12. St. Louis Blues

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
3.0 3.2 6.2

Credentials: At 13 games into the season, it's never too early for a coaching change in the NHL. Out goes Davis Payne after a 6-7 start, in comes Dallas Stars Stanley Cup winner Ken Hitchcock. Which should put an end to the rumors that had St. Louis abuzz that Tony La Russa retired from the Cardinals because he had his eye on the Blues' top spot. Hey, that would have required a package deal of signing Albert Pujols to a 10-year deal to play goaltender. That just wasn't going to happen in this economy.


13. Kardashian/Humphries fallout

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
2.1 2.3 4.4

Credentials: The tabloids are falling over themselves to report that Kim flew from Australia to Minneapolis to meet with her future ex-husband for a 24-hour span over the weekend. If we were in charge of guessing how the pie chart of what topics they discussed over that span gets divvied up, we're betting the largest slice went not to reconciliation talk -- but Kim wanting to know if she could get her deposit back on her Nets season-ticket package.


Also receiving votes
• Andy Dalton: When you're the first-year quarterback who guides the Cincinnati Bengals to a five-game winning streak, you're not just in line for NFL Rookie of the Year honors -- the people of Cincinnati are taking bids to build your statue. Note to people of Cincinnati: We know that in the past 20 years your playoff experience consists of two wild-card losses, but five regular-season wins in a row do not automatically qualify you for the postseason. Hang on, there's more to come.

Never receiving votes
• Oh-for-Colts: Is Indy a lock to wind up with one of those rare, historical winless NFL seasons? To balance out that black mark, this idea might be a fantastic nod to good NFL history: Encourage Joe Namath to rent out his endorsement to every foe remaining on the schedule so that he can famously guarantee victory over the Colts..

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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