Power Rankings: High-score edition

Originally Published: January 11, 2010
By Greg Hardy | Special to Page 2

Go down to the wire with the Page 2 Power Rankings! Our formula combines the results of two surveys: A human poll concocted by ESPN Page 2's Gregory Hardy; and a scientifically calibrated poll generated by computer analysis. Unfortunately, the computer we tapped was the one that went crazy after it was forced to convert every episode of "Saved by the Bell" into 3-D for when the new TVs come out this summer. To the results!

1. Running Up The Score

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
9.4 9.3 18.7

Credentials: In the NFL playoffs, the point isn't which team comes out on top when entering overtime with the score tied at 45. The point is, do you root for or against the team that was leading 31-10 in the third quarter? Actually, we've been rooting for the home team in these playoff games. Not because we hate on underdogs. But can you imagine paying $800 to bring your family of four to the game and seeing your team lose after it gained 531 yards of offense? So congratulations to Karlos Dansby for preventing a lot of Arizona dads from driving the kids home in angry, hurtful, awkward silence.

2. NBC Late Night

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
8.6 8.5 17.1

Credentials: Here's a better idea than figuring out when Jay Leno and Conan O'Brien should get their talk shows shifted around to wherever/whenever. How about NBC starts a cable network where for 24 hours a day we can watch their programming execs get interrogated as to why they make such stupid programming decisions. Of course, it would take an incredibly stupid programming exec to greenlight such a project. Then again, how many times did you tune into Jay's 10 p.m. show?

3. Pete Carroll to Seahawks

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
8.7 8.3 17.0

Credentials:The USC coach is plunging back to the pros, this time into the sewer known as the NFC West. We know it's been a while since he's coached in the pros, but he does realize that in the NFL the term "nonconference foe" refers not to teams like San Jose State and Boston College, but to the Indianapolis Colts, Baltimore Ravens, New England Patriots, Denver Broncos and San Diego Chargers.

4. Derek Jeter wedding

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
8.8 8.0 16.8

Credentials: Let's say the rumors are true that he's set a date with Minka Kelly. Now let's suppose that the Yankees organization will try to make a few bucks off it by broadcasting it live. As a promotional gimmick, would the YES network change its name for that day to the I DO network?

5. Alabama Walmart

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
8.4 7.5 15.9

Credentials: Don't you dare make fun of where the BCS national champions chose to share their new crystal trophy with their fans. Besides, the Dollar General was already booked to host the latest round of high school recruiting visits.

6. Dallas Cowboys Playoff Juggernaut

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
7.9 7.6 15.5

Credentials: Look out, Brett Favre. While you and the Vikings were on a bye week, the rejuvenated Cowboys were wrapping up back-to-back poundings of the Eagles by a combined score of 58-14. A word of warning: If you get run out of the Metrodome by Tony Romo and Wade Phillips, the NFL Retirement Police are going to sentence you to 30 years of hard moping in Mississippi.

7. Tennessee Volunteers basketball

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
7.0 7.9 14.9

Credentials: Sure, it's inspirational -- in the wake of dismissals and suspensions, a team with six scholarship players and a cast of walk-ons knocks off the No. 1-ranked Kansas Jayhawks. The question is, can this level of intensity be sustained through Southeastern Conference play when you can't replace the talent? Coach Pearl, we're keeping an eye on you that you don't try to sneak Pat Summitt into the starting lineup.

8. "Two Gentlemen from Lebowski"

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
7.4 7.4 14.8

Credentials: Ever wonder what it would be like if the Coen Bros. masterpiece "The Big Lebowski" had been penned by Shakespeare? Wonder no more. Someone with way too much time on his hands rewrote the adventures of The Dude in the vernacular of The Bard. Look up the script on its Web site for the old-timey adventures of The Dude ... er, make that The Knave. Besides, you'll come off as a lot smarter if you start quoting all the time from this version of the story: "Is this thy parchment, Laurence? Tell me plain. ... Youth, thou art entering a world of pain! ... Thou art killing thy father, Laurence!" And for you bowling enthusiasts: "Smokey, this be not the foul jungles of the darkest East Orient. This be ninepins. We are bound by laws."

9. Charles Barkley

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
6.8 6.4 13.2

Credentials: Sir Charles doesn't have to host "Saturday Night Live" to prove to us he can get a laugh anywhere, anyplace, even if he's got nothing to work with. We know he's always willing to make fun of himself. We just wish he would have starred in "An SNL Digital Short" where he insisted that the title be changed to "An SNL Digital Tall and Fat."

10. Gilbert Arenas

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
7.1 6.4 13.5

Credentials: Who's Gilbert Arenas again? We've never heard of a Gilbert Arenas. We have no record of a Gilbert Arenas ever having been here. And in no way do we have any Gilbert Arenas gear to sell you. These aren't the Gilbert Arenas droids you're looking for. You can go about your business. Move along. (Editor's note: Today's Page 2 Power Rankings are sponsored by the Washington Wizards.)

11. End of Patriots Dynasty

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
6.1 6.7 12.8

Credentials: The New England home crowd wasn't booing Tom Brady and Bill Belichick because the team was down 24-0 to Baltimore in the first quarter. They were merely saying "Brrrrrrrr!!!" because they were frozen to their seats and couldn't flee for their warm homes to escape a big dose of comeuppance.

12. Lights-out Lightning

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
5.8 5.7 11.5

Credentials: Here's the perfect way the NHL can spin the fact the New Jersey Devils and Tampa Bay Lightning had to suspend their game from Friday until Sunday in Newark because a bank of lights went out during the second period. This was just a trial run of their next great gimmick gift for fans: "The NHL Darkness Classic." Once a year, two teams will play an entire game in the dark. And since no one will be able to see the arena seats, the NHL can report full attendance in the stands. Everyone wins!

13. Texas Longhorns Quarterbacks

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
4.9 4.1 9.0

Credentials: Somewhere there's a parallel dimension where Colt McCoy is the winner of the 2010 BCS Championship Game. Unfortunately for Longhorns fans, in that parallel dimension, McCoy threw for 440 yards and six touchdowns as the Crimson Tide quarterback in a 48-3 smashing of Texas. Some games you're just not destined to win no matter where you are.

Also receiving votes:
• Lindsey Vonn: She became the first U.S. skier to win World Cup races on three consecutive days. Yes, she's a way better skier than any of us around here -- but you probably guessed that from the fact this cold snap has us hiding under 10 layers of Snuggies.

Never receiving votes:
• "The A-Team" trailer: If they expect to make a lot of money from people buying tickets to a movie in which the guy from "The Hangover" shoots a machine gun at jet planes from atop a tank that's parachuting down from another jet that just got blown up, then they're gong to dealing with some cold, hard reality very soon.

• Marshawn Lynch: The Bills running back is accused of stealing $20 from a policeman's wife at a Buffalo-area restaurant. Think there's an innocent "George Costanza tip jar" explanation in there somewhere?

• Gumby creator Art Clokey dies: Never did someone invent a more solid legacy based on a character that was so bendable. Now where's Eddie Murphy to deliver the eulogy?

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