Commentary

Rankings: Bengals fans edition

Originally Published: January 2, 2012
By Greg Hardy | Page 2

Bengals FansAP Photo/Tony TribbleBengals fans in Cincinnati showed up to support their team in a loss to Baltimore.

Sit back and relax from the Cincinnati nosebleeds with 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 was so hungover after New Year's Eve that it thought the point of the weekend was to set the clock back an hour. Which resulted in about 14 hourly champagne toasts until someone caught the glitch. To the results!

1. Cincinnati Bengals ticket buyers

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
9.4 9.6 19.0

Credentials: With the playoffs on the line, the Bengals begged their fans to come out and cheer the team to victory -- and, well, at least the Bengals had one wish come true. There were 63,439 people in Cincinnati good enough to pay for a ticket to enter Paul Brown Stadium and see … Baltimore's Ray Rice tear the place up. Hope they had smartphones to figure out how Cincy backed into the postseason thanks to other teams choking. So where did all these previous no-shows come from? Were they fathers and sons who otherwise would been playing catch in the back yard? People on their first date from Match.com? Cleveland Browns fans who were wondering how the other half lived? At least the people who showed up for the first time know how the parking lots work in case they come back over the summer for a "Monsters of Rock" reunion concert.


2. Loser Cowboys

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
9.5 9.1 18.6

Credentials: That's two years in a row Jerry Jones won't be able to buy -- or sell -- a seat to see the Cowboys in the playoffs. Jerry, if you're worried about the lost box-office revenue, may we suggest that you look into renting out Cowboys Stadium to various Texas mega-high schools to hold late winter proms? Imagine how happy those kids will be when the king and queen are announced via the big screen. Happier than Tony Romo will be listening to angry fans during the offseason, we'll bet.


3. LeBron engagement

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
8.8 8.3 17.1

Credentials: Savannah Brinson has been his girlfriend for eight years and is mom to his two kids, and after New Year's Eve she got a King-sized engagement ring. LeBron, for a guy who promised five, six, seven championship rings for the Miami Heat, here's hoping this is the only one of those you'll dole out. Either that, or we'll wish that Dan Gilbert will be best man at one of your future weddings.


4. DeMarcus Cousins

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
7.6 7.2 14.8

Credentials: The Sacramento Kings are not amused that their center is demanding a trade. Not only are they so frustrated with his antics that they're telling him not to play, they're hoping they can help him combat his image of immaturity by telling him he's not allowed to play with boats in the training room whirlpool anymore.


5. Tebow vs. Orton

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
7.2 7.4 14.6

Credentials: Ex-Denver Broncos QB Kyle Orton won the Week 17 matchup for the Chiefs, but current Denver Broncos QB Tim Tebow won the playoff berth. Sorry, Kyle, but John Fox will tell you that if life were fair, he'd still be coach of the Panthers telling Cam Newton what to do.


6. NHL Winter Classic

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
6.2 6.3 12.5

Credentials: Yes, we're huge fans of the annual great outdoor hockey matchup. But the fact that the game between the Rangers and Flyers had to be bumped from 1 in the afternoon to 3 to avoid sun glare is a reminder that Mother Nature still calls the shots when it comes to the great outdoors. Remember, if hockey were meant to be played outdoors, Gary Bettman would have had his blueprints for retractable-roof arenas approved in a lot more cities by now.


7. Unbeaten college hoops teams

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
5.4 5.2 10.6

Credentials: Syracuse (15-0), Baylor (13-0) and Missouri (13-0) are poised in the top 10 with a big "0" in the losses column as we enter the new year. Which would be huge if these were the football team records, but doesn't guarantee anything before March Madness. That's why we propose that any basketball teams that are undefeated at the final gun of the BCS title game should be guaranteed a berth in the Final Four. Sure, it would wreck the integrity of the NCAA tournament, but it'd be a nice reminder in early spring that football is better than basketball.


8. Overtime masters

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
5.3 4.8 10.1

Credentials: What was the secret to the Arizona Cardinals' 8-8 record? They set an NFL record with four overtime victories. The beautiful part for long-suffering Cardinals fans is that all of those extra frames were played at home. However, they'll soon find out that means team ownership will send them a bill in the mail charging them for the overages of watching more football action than they originally paid for. Hey, no one ever said victory came cheap.


9. Santonio Holmes

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
5.1 4.3 9.4

Credentials: We can't even fathom what's going on in the New York Jets' locker room in the face of their three-game losing streak to end the season short of the playoffs. And as the stories come out as to why Santonio Homes was benched in the fourth quarter against the Dolphins, we're waiting for coach Rex Ryan to announce the harshest possible penalty in the Jets' blabbermouth culture: that the wide receiver has lost his "permission to speak freely" privileges.


10. New Year's Eve regrets

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
5.1 4.2 9.3

Credentials: While there's usually nothing wrong with a singer taking some license in covering another artist's song, there was many a champagne cork popped in confusion during Cee Lo's New Year's Eve Times Square performance. He made a forget-you of the lyrics to John Lennon's "Imagine" from "and no religion too" to "and all religion's true." NFL, keep this in mind for 40 years from now when he's invited to be the Super Bowl halftime performer. He might switch the lyrics in his cover of "Who Let the Dogs Out?" to … well, we don't even want to imagine.


11. Victor Cruz

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
4.2 4.1 8.3

Credentials: The 25-year-old undrafted wide receiver sensation set a New York Giants franchise record with 1,536 receiving yards. He's such a toast of the town that Eli has named him an honorary Manning brother.


12. Tournament of Roses parade

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
4.1 3.2 7.3

Credentials: We know this is a feel-good event for thousands of fans, but we can't bring ourselves to tune in unless we know in advance we're guaranteed to see a "Salute to Secondary Infractions" float. With all the tissue paper "donated" under the table by high-roller boosters.


13. Cincinnati at Houston wild card

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
3.2 2.3 5.5

Credentials: Wow, before the season started, who had it penciled in that the Bengals would be packing their bags to meet the Texans in the postseason? Should we have put money down on a Red-Astros NLCS while we're at it? We'd chalk up these unlikely pairings as the world's most unlikely inter-city battle for bragging rights, but we're not sure either city has ever heard of the concept of "bragging rights."


Also receiving votes
• Matt Flynn: Here's how you hit the jackpot as a backup quarterback: In the final game of the regular season before his free agency kicks in, the Packers sent him under center in place of resting-for-the-playoffs Aaron Rodgers, and he flung the ball for a franchise-record 480 yards and six touchdowns. As the guy who just named his own price for his next NFL team, he should double down on that by insisting he become spokesman for that "Name Your Own Price" travel website. In the commercial, he can look at an airport departures board and muse, "Hmm, where's my next stop? Jacksonville? Seattle? How about I jet to New York?" Cha-ching.

Never receiving votes
• Million-dollar bill. A man in North Carolina was jailed after reportedly trying to purchase $476 worth of merchandise at a Wal-mart with a $1 million bill. Buddy, here's what you should say in your defense: "I swear this $1 million bill is real. I got it from David Stern. He told me he had some left over after giving one to every NBA player once the lockout was over."

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.