Power Rankings: PK Edition

Originally Published: July 18, 2011
By Greg Hardy | Special to Page 2

Your life is bouncing off the goalpost of 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 spent the weekend optimizing its online dating profile so that it could make an impression on newly single Jennifer Lopez, just in case she opens a account. To the results!

1. Penalty kick blues

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
9.4 9.6 19.0

Credentials: We're trying to be philosophical about the U.S. women's team's stunning loss in the World Cup final. See, when life gives you lemons, make lemonade. When life gives you penalty kicks, try to not kick the ball entire over the top crossbeam. And if Japan could slice up Hope Solo on PKs, does that damage her endorsement income potential? Maybe she can lend her voice to a GPS system, where her voice confidently guides you to your destination. The only flaw is that when you reach intersections, her voice guesses left or right turn in a snap judgment, no matter if it happens to be a wrong turn. Don't take that as a slam -- you tell us where you can beat the odds on a 50-50 chance every time.

2. NFL labor mulligan

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
9.5 9.0 18.5

Credentials: The good news is that we're being told there is light at the end of the tunnel for an end to the lockout. But Sunday afternoon, do you think players' union reps were excited or upset to learn than Tony Romo was tearing it up to a runner-up finish at the Lake Tahoe celebrity golf tournament? After all, if the lockout continued, would it make sense for Romo to try to earn a paycheck as a pro hacker? On the other hand, people get upset when the U.S. president is seen golfing during a time of crisis. Not that anyone's going to confuse Tony Romo with being the president, but couldn't he have been lending moral support to his negotiating brothers instead of deciding which drink to order when he was done with the back nine? It's complicated.

3. NBA world tour

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
8.8 8.2 17.0

Credentials: Dwight Howard is the latest NBA star to raise the flag that he might take his talents to other lands during a lockout. But upon further inspection, it turns out the Magic man is part of a joint effort with an Orlando tourism council that he's paid to visit other countries in order to hand out brochures about how lovely it is to visit Disney World and other central Florida attractions any time of year. And at affordable prices to fit any budget!

4. Baseball Night Live

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
7.7 7.2 14.9

Credentials: Just in case you thought there was nothing exciting to do in St. Petersburg, Fla., on a hot July night, the Red Sox and Rays treated fans to a 16-inning, 1-0 game that lasted five hours and 44 minutes, and ended at 1:54 a.m., which you can imagine is well after most prune juice bars had closed. If the game had kept going, at least playing in the concrete warehouse of a dome of Tropicana Field, the players and fans wouldn't be able to see the sun rise. If only the St. Petersburg retirees could read the box score in the morning paper when they woke up at 4 a.m. Too bad.

5. British Open bloopers

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
7.1 7.5 14.6

Credentials: Lay off Phil Mickelson and Dustin Johnson for their incredible, inexplicable screw-ups on the final day at Royal St. George's. Did you read the final scores and see that each of them still pocketed $689,617 APIECE for placing second? Most of us will never earn $689,617 for doing something great, let along screwing something up that bad. Unless, of course, we're embezzling from the federal government. Did we mention to please not compare our tax returns to our bank accounts?

6. NFL free agency

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
6.2 6.4 12.6

Credentials: Cedric Benson violated one of the golden rules of NFL free agency: Don't get arrested when you're on the verge of scoring a new free-agent contract. It's time for emergency measures: NFL agents, a smart business practice this week would be paying off prison informants to give incarcerated free agents workout and PR advice while in the clink.

7. Icing a hole-in-one

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
5.4 5.1 10.5

Credentials: Which is more improbable: That former Colorado Avalanche star Joe Sakic could ace the 17th hole in the Lake Tahoe celebrity tournament for a million dollars, or that in the immediate aftermath thousands of Vancouver residents assembled at Rogers Arena to boo Gary Bettman just on principle.

8. Bad-mouthing bicyclist

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
5.2 4.8 10.0

Credentials: Frenchman Thomas Voeckler has the overall lead in the Tour De France but keeps publicly downplaying his ability to win it. Leave it to the French to surrender victory before a guy's even finished the race. Remember, this is bike riding; stay focused and keep it simple and honest like in childhood. Would stopping for ice cream along the route make you happier?

9. Phone hacking

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
5.1 4.3 9.4

Credentials: We're not going to get involved with the whole British tabloid/Scotland Yard drama going on across the pond. But how has there never been a phone hacking scandal in college football recruiting? Multimillion dollar programs hinge on how coaches can get hold of high school kids days or night. First step in the exposé: Someone check Jim Tressel's phone bill, see if he knows anything about this.

10. "Carmageddon"

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
5.0 4.2 9.2

Credentials: Life goes on in Los Angeles after a 10-mile section of Interstate 405, "the nation's busiest highway," was closed for the demolition of a Mulholland Drive bridge. But as the nickname for the closure indicates, drivers were bracing for the worst types of all-out gridlock. Public safety officials, in the future, get everyone in a calm state of mind beforehand. We'd wager that America will listen to public service messages about automobile safety from Danica Patrick.

11. Coach's alleged scam

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
4.2 4.0 8.2

Credentials: Former Georgia Bulldogs coach Jim Donnan and his wife are accused in a lawsuit of making money off a Ponzi scheme. Then again, since all big-time college programs pad their win totals by scheduling games against the likes of Wyoming, New Mexico State and Northeast Louisiana, maybe we can look forward to more legal actions against former coaches who resort to business practices that screw over people who thought they were investing in something legitimate.

12. World tweeting record

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
4.0 3.3 7.3

Credentials: What on earth is so exciting that it elicits 7,196 tweets per second? That would be the end of the Women's World Cup final, whose penalty kicks send fingertips flying. However, we argue that this record is NOT something futbol fans should celebrate. We realize we're all multitaskers these days, but if viewers were truly engaged in the outcome, wouldn't they pause for at least a milisecond or two before spitting out their reaction? And how do we know that they weren't tweeting negative reactions, like "Penalty Kicks? R U kidding me? What a horrible way to decide championship!!!" or "Miss it, Noonan!" or even "When do NFL Sundays kick in again so I can watch football instead of uselessly tweet?"

13. "Hard Knocks" candidates

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
3.1 2.2 5.3

Credentials: Not only do we have to keep an eye on the NFL lockout situation, but time is running out for us to guess which team HBO will land for its training camp reality show. This week, we nominate the Minnesota Vikings. But because they're desperately begging the state government to help replace the Metrodome, they're likely to turn down HBO in favor of ABC's "Extreme Makeover: Billion-Dollar Football Stadium" edition.

Also receiving votes
• Big Ben bliss. Details are few about the Steelers QB's July 23 wedding to Ashley Harlen, but we don't mind sharing with the world the gift we'll be sending along to the happy couple: a pair of Pittsburgh Pirates season tickets. Don't worry, Ashley, we checked and these seats are nowhere near where the Pirates' wives sit.

Never receiving votes
• Dale Earnhardt Jr.: We completely sympathize with NASCAR's most popular driver, who hasn't won a Sprint Cup race in 112 tries. There was a stint last year where we told 115 jokes in a row without one laugh in response. The difference is, at least he still gets free ANP Energy drinks as part of his endorsement deal. We lost our office coffee pot privileges.

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