Power Rankings: Gold edition

Originally Published: January 18, 2010
By Greg Hardy | Special to Page 2

Dig into the treasure of another edition of 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 one that's infected with a virus that locked it into playing that "Pants on the Ground" song on an endless loop at full jackhammer volume right after it spit out this week's rankings. To the results!

1. New Orleans Saints

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
9.4 9.4 18.8

Credentials: What's gold and black and has everything in the world riding on the upcoming NFC Championship Game? If the Saints play up to their home-field advantage at the Louisiana Superdome, they will earn the franchise's first trip to the Super Bowl, and that will give residents something to cheer as they continue to wrestle the grip of Katrina's ravages. That, in turn, would bring the world back to New Orleans and inspire us all to live in peace and harmony via open bars. And once the world is safe, this means the government can finally concentrate on fixing the economy. Which means we'll all be able to retire! Thus, nothing less than the feel-good fate of the planet hangs in the balance. Let's keep our fingers crossed that the Vikings don't decide to punt away from Reggie Bush -- otherwise we all get to ride down the failure spiral again.

2. Golden Globes

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
8.6 8.5 17.1

Credentials: Glitz and glamour aside, Hollywood has only two objectives for this award season: to satisfy James Cameron's ego with a bazillion technical awards for "Avatar," and to bestow upon Jeff Bridges a lifetime achievement award for his mesmerizing acting (what I wouldn't give on Oscar night to hear him muse, "All these trophies really tie the room together"). But the prize-winning moment of the weekend came Friday at the Critics' Choice Movie Awards when Sandra Bullock kissed Meryl Streep when they tied for the best actress award. Who knew thespians could tie for awards? Presenters, please come up with tiebreaking rules so we don't have an awkward situation on stage if it ever comes down to Ricky Gervais and Danny DeVito called up at the same time.

3. Helpful Mark McGwire

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
7.8 8.7 16.5

Credentials: St. Louis Cardinals fans gave a standing ovation to their new batting coach in his first public appearance. An ensuing chat with the media did not prove as friendly, but McGwire assured all that he's there to help and has a "huge Rolodex of knowledge." He did not answer questions as to whether the hugest parts of that Rolodex were under "S" for "Steroids," and "H" for "Human Growth Hormone," and "A" for "Androstenediol," and ...

4. J-E-T-S

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
8.1 7.7 15.8

Credentials: Don't be surprised they qualified for the AFC title game. It's all part of Rex Ryan's master plan. He has already said that his team should be favored to win out and will be showered with a victory parade in New York City after the Super Bowl. Pretty humorous stuff, but the laughing will stop if he predicts that one of the members of The Who will fall victim to a wardrobe malfunction in the middle of their halftime show. Well, the laughing would stop among members of The Who, at least.

5. Out of Gas Dallas Cowboys

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
7.9 7.6 15.5

Credentials: For all the money Jerry Jones spent on that new Cowboys Stadium, there's one vital component he tragically left off the blueprints: a set of wheels, so that the stadium can be brought along to play in during road trips. The Cowboys never stood a chance in that noise-eteria in Minneapolis. Maybe in the offseason Jones will pay for wheels. And even if opponents refuse to play their home games inside a Cowboys Stadium that's parked alongside their stadium, at least Jones is prepared to throw the world's meanest tailgate party. All aboard!

6. NBC Late Night

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
7.8 7.0 14.8

Credentials: Here's one of the ways we envision this showdown debacle can end any worse than the direction it's heading: (A) Jay gets the "Tonight Show" back; (B) In order to show there are no hard feelings, his first guest is Conan; (C) Conan's guest that he brought along for the chat is a glass jar of deadly acid; D. Conan never shows up because he forgot the show wasn't at 10 p.m. anymore. Actually, this prediction game is pretty useless, because there's nothing we can imagine that will be as bad as how this will really end.

7. Lane Kiffin invades L.A.

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
6.7 7.5 14.2

Credentials: Rumor has it that the new USC coach was at a Trojans boosters breakfast when he accused James Cameron of bribing the Hollywood Foreign Press Association into awarding him Best Director for "Avatar" at the Golden Globes. Southern California, didn't you see how this movie ended in Knoxville?

8. Figure Skating Time

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
6.9 7.1 14.0

Credentials: Yes, the men's U.S. figure skating championships were on TV on Sunday afternoon. You know this not because you saw this information for the first time here, but because you got bored during the pro football blowout and found this when you changed the channel. At least when you watch it during the Olympics you have the excuse, "What else am I going to watch when there's no football on?" It's the trap we all live in and the lie we all tell ourselves.

9. NCAA Beach Volleyball

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
7.0 6.9 13.9

Credentials: Guess what's coming to campus in August 2011? Just don't call it beach volleyball, it's "sand volleyball" under their terms. The NCAA has OK'd it to be a Division I sport. Here's the only thing you need to know about it before you start dreaming of bikinis in your favorite school colors: If there's ever an NCAA Beach Volleyball National Championship Game between Ohio State and Florida, bet all the money in the world you can find on Florida. Is that a no-brainer or what?

10. Sharapova Exit

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
6.8 6.4 13.2

Credentials: The struggling Russian star was supposed to be healthy again after shoulder surgery, so a first-round bounce out of the Australian Open came as a huge surprise. Just hope her shoe sponsor didn't have some huge TV commercial campaign timed for the Aussie finals and she's depicted as a spunky puppet who quarrels with a Serena Williams puppet, while egged on by a nerdy little puppet kid who's always hanging out with them.

11. Blake Griffin

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
6.4 6.4 12.8

Credentials: Bummer that the Clippers' rookie is completely done for the season. That's unlike his L.A. rival Kobe Bryant, who has played through no short order of incredible pain all season, including the Lakers' 100-95 win at Dallas on Wednesday -- when Bryant scored 12 points and had four rebounds and three assists in the third quarter while his torso was engulfed in flames. In fact, when told of Griffin's upcoming surgery, Bryant volunteered to play Griffin's position at all Clippers games, home and away. What a trooper!

12. Gilbert Arenas

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
6.1 5.4 11.5

Credentials: We were about to type up another joke about Agent Zero's bizarre situation when we received word from NBA commissioner David Stern that he was upset that we were treating Arenas' incident with such levity in last week's rankings. In fact, he even released a statement that we are "not currently fit to mock NBA soap operas." So when will we be fit? He never tells you that part.

13. Derek Dooley

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
4.4 5.5 9.9

Credentials: Fear not, Rocky Top! Now that the Lane Train has departed, you've landed a coach with SEC bona fides. Son of Georgia legend (and Auburn grad) Vince Dooley. Former recruiter for Nick Saban. At last, someone who understands the values and traditions to which Vols fans hold dear. However, just to put his stamp on the program, he has ordered a tweak or two: (A) The school color has been changed from orange to a combination of purple and a kinda-sorta off-purple; (B) Smokey the Bluetick Coonhound is out as mascot; Irving the Halitosis-Suffering Middle-Aged Walrus is in; (C) A shirtless Bruce Pearl is now special-teams coach; and (D) All mattresses purchased by student housing must be 100 percent fireproof.

Also receiving votes:
• Haiti relief: We wish somebody could just write a blank check that will solve all their problems; instead it's going to take a lot of chipping in to even make a dent. So keep chipping in.

• Tim Tebow: His first Super Bowl commercial will be a "Celebrate Life" message from a Christian group. His Super Bowl commercial next year will be for a McRib sandwich that features a "heavenly" new barbecue sauce.

Never receiving votes:
• Curt Schilling: He's a Yankees fan, according to a misinformed Massachusetts Democrat who's running for a Senate seat. What a stupid way to insult one of the finest middle relievers in Boston Red Sox history.

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