Commentary

Power Rankings: Time for Hoops Edition

Originally Published: November 28, 2011
By Greg Hardy | Special to Page 2

Get ready to soar for the jump ball that is 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 geared up for Cyber Monday by cashing in on deals for deep-discounted surplus Thanksgiving turkeys. Its next step: Finding a great deal on a giant deep freezer to keep those birds properly stored until next November. Otherwise, all that meat will go bad, and our computer will have to waste even more time selling those carcasses to someone else on the Internet who's looking for an even better deal on leftover surplus turkey. We're confident there's a message board for that somewhere. To the results!

1. NBA game time

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
9.4 9.6 19.0

Credentials: The easy part of writing a new 66-game season that tips off on Christmas Day is the starting point. Turn the calendar to Dec. 25, start from there, and go wild. Complicating matters is the idea that the NBA's hated practice of scheduling back-to-back games will be the necessity of cramming in back-to-back-to-back games. That means there will be a real danger of LeBron James losing track of time with all that hectic travel and not realizing when he's playing the fourth quarter of a game after he's been on the floor three nights in a row. By March and April, could he start randomly disappearing in the third, second or even first quarters of games? Tune in, find out, and act surprised.


2. Urban Meyer

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
9.5 9.0 18.5

Credentials: For all those who are worried if the former Florida coach is ready to return to the sideline after he stepped down in Gainesville in order to spend more time with his family: His new contract with Ohio State stipulates that Buckeyes boosters will provide him with an entirely new family free of charge. While we have no idea how his new wife and kids will stack up against his original family unit, we hear that his kindly new bespectacled father-in-law Jim has an astonishing collection of red sweater vests in his closet.


3. LSU-Alabama

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
8.8 8.2 17.0

Credentials: Today's fresh college football nonsense: We're being told that the computer rankings are so smitten for the Tigers and the Crimson Tide that LSU can lose to Georgia in the SEC title game and still be invited to the BCS title game for a rematch of the regular-season game from Tuscaloosa. So if Mark Richt's Bulldogs beat Les Miles' supposed world-beaters in Saturday's game at the Georgia Dome, someone in the league office is going to have to step up and make sure the trophy is engraved with the designation of "The Kinda Sorta SEC Title Game That Had No Bearing On A National Championship That Was Won By An SEC Team Anyway." As a consolation to Georgia fans, that would require a really giant trophy to offer enough room to write that.


4. Tebow Time

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
7.7 7.2 14.9

Credentials: With a 5-1 record as a starter, wait for the hype and exposure to grow. With endorsements for underwear and sports drinks already conquered, the next no-brainer direction is video games. After approximately 15 seconds of brainstorming, we recommend that Activision put its programmers straight to work on "Call of Duty: Tebowing."


5. Andy Reid

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
7.1 7.4 14.5

Credentials: We agree that your eyes saw an ugly Eagles team get dismantled by the Patriots 38-20, but we disagree that your ears heard the Lincoln Financial Field crowd chanting "Fire Andy!" They were actually saying, "File early!" Didn't you know the Philadelphia area is among America's capitals for tax return buffs? And that in the old Veterans Stadium, it was the only football arena in America that had officially licensed tax preparation rooms to help expedite all the fans who showed up with their W2s? Regardless, it might be time for Reid and his accountants to review his unemployment insurance.


6. Ndamukong Suh

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
6.2 6.3 12.5

Credentials: So -- beyond the inevitable suspension -- what's going to be his punishment for being ejected from the Lions' Thanksgiving Day game after stomping on a Green Bay Packer? Commissioner Goodell, if the answer is going to be anger management classes, you might as well go all out by televising these classes as a reality show. Just make sure Suh doesn't know a) that he's being filmed and b) that the instructors are improv comedians who are told to constantly be doing things to set him off. This is the best way NFL Films can make up for the fact that there was no "Hard Knocks" this preseason.


7. NBA homecomings

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
5.4 5.1 10.5

Credentials: Sadly, one unintended consequence of the NBA players and owners getting their act together is that LeBron, Dwayne Wade and friends have to scrap their four-city "Homecoming Tour" of exhibitions. Those who bought tickets in hopes of seeing their hometown heroes can now look into getting refunds. But maybe Akron, Ohio, still has time to put together a charity game made up of teams of people who swear they once beat King James in a game of one-on-one when he was 12.


8. Houston Texans

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
5.2 4.8 10.0

Credentials: You know how once an NFL team gets to 13-0 or 14-0 it can start thinking about shutting down its starters and coasting into the playoffs by inserting random backups and practice squad players? After losing quarterbacks Matt Schaub and Matt Leinart to injuries, this year's AFC South-leading Texans will be the first team in history to be praying for the moment it can lock up its playoff position so it can stop relying on random backups and practice squad players to help them limp along. In Weeks 16 and 17, Houston can coast along by having its starting QB be one of the 70-year-old guys who's been in charge of moving the first-down markers.


9. Heisman watch

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
5.1 4.2 9.3

Credentials: Almost always of late, the Heisman goes to the quarterback or running back who's in line to make a difference in the BCS title picture. But this year, we say take a look at the road to the Conference USA title game and cast your vote for Houston's Case Keenum. He has 37 games of throwing for more than 300 yards. This season, he's put up 4,726 yards with 43 touchdowns against three interceptions. The Cougars are 12-0 and shooting for their first BCS bowl bid. Besides, a plane ticket to get him to the Heisman ceremony would be a good investment. He wouldn't have any bag fees, because he could just throw his luggage from Texas to Times Square.


10. Ron Zook

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
5.0 4.2 9.2

Credentials: The Illinois coach -- who famously fumbled around for three years at Florida before Urban Meyer took over -- was fired Sunday, doomed by an 0-6 finish after a 6-0 start. Good luck to the Illini in finding the next guy to elevate the program -- unless your lawyers can find fine print somewhere that shows Meyer is contractually obligated to follow Zook's tenure again.


11. Junkanoo Jam

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
4.2 4.0 8.2

Credentials: Congratulations to the defending national champion Texas A&M women's basketball team for routing Iowa 74-58 to win the Junkanoo Jam tournament in the Bahamas. Which just goes to prove that winning the Junkanoo Jam is better than winning a national title. Because while winning a national title will get you free restaurant dinners for life in your college town, you can get free drinks the rest of your life anywhere in the world in exchange for answering the question: "What on earth is the Junkanoo Jam?"


12. The Grey Cup

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
4.0 3.2 7.2

Credentials: Because it's never over until it's over in the Canadian Football League, we offer a tip of the chullo to the British Columbia Lions, who started the season 0-5 but rallied to Grey Cup glory by beating the Winnipeg Blue Bombers 34-23. Note to the Philadelphia Eagles: Please don't look to the B.C. Lions as inspiration of how to turn things around. It's a U.S.-Canada exchange rate thing; an 0-5 CFL start is not on the same scale of a 4-7 NFL start.


13. Houston Astros

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
3.1 2.3 5.4

Credentials: New owner Jim Crane started cleaning house by firing GM Ed Wade and president Tal Smith, who oversaw a franchise-worst 106 losses last season. Well, the answer was either to bring in new people for a fresh perspective to dig the team out of its hole or change the name of the team to the Pittsburgh Pirates. And we certainly don't need another Pittsburgh Pirates in baseball, let alone two in the National League Central.


Also receiving votes
• Sebastian Janikowski. Try these numbers on for size -- 40, 47, 42, 19, 37 and 44. No, that's not a wining Powerball ticket. Those are the distances the Raiders' kicker nailed in converting a franchise-record six field goals in beating the Bears. Though if Janikowski did win a lottery jackpot with those digits, we think we know the first thing he'd blow his money on: gold-coated kicking cleats in the shape of an S (for the left foot) and a J (for the right foot). Or should it be the other way around so that it can be read by someone looking at Janikowski? Further testing is still needed as to which letter would be better balanced and weighted to be the plant foot.

Never receiving votes
• 0-12 Indianapolis: Sobering numbers from the Page 2 Power Rankings stats department: The Colts are mathematically eliminated from consideration for playing a two-hand touch exhibition scrimmage at the Grey Cup halftime show. Too bad, because without the chance to travel, the franchise will miss out on wooing some CFL practice squad players and signing them to starting spots.

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.