Power Rankings: U-S-A edition

Originally Published: February 22, 2010
By Greg Hardy | Special to Page 2

You've iced 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 had been restored using broken memory chips from the Dalai Lama's hard drive after he downloaded info about world-famous golfers. So don't be surprised if you quiz the Lama on current golf events and none of the names rings a bell for him. To the results!

1. Team USA's Goaltending

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
9.4 9.5 18.9

Credentials: What's the recipe for defeating the Canadian hockey team in Vancouver? It starts with a U.S. goaltender who has the stones to turn away 42 shots from Sidney Crosby & Co. on the way to a 5-3 upset. Meet Ryan Miller, the Buffalo Sabres netminder who just rode a wave of patriotic pride to send the home team scrambling. Uh, patriotic pride, or the realization going into the night that with a great game he could increase his visibility 5,000 percent for when it comes time to redo his NHL deal. Either reason is fine; they're both the American Way!

2. Woods' Words

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
9.1 8.9 18.0

Credentials: Please tell us that Friday's dog and pony and Tiger show will not be a stage to be conquered on Woods' next officially licensed video game. Was that the grand strategy that took all this time to unveil -- "Apology by Boredom"? Where was any attempt at levity or self-deprecation? Here's some advice: Next time, close with some magic tricks. It'll prove to us that you spent all this time in hiding learning at least something valuable. Also, nothing better symbolizes the fact that you're ready to change than by waving a wand over a top hat and saying, "Presto, Change-o!" as you can turn a broken fire hydrant into a bunny rabbit in front of a live (if apparently drowsy) audience.

3. Canada Appreciation

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
8.8 8.5 17.3

Credentials: Canada, thanks for inviting us up here! You've been so nice and hospitable that we can barely bring ourselves to steal the hotel soap. It does look as though America will take home a healthy dose of the medal count, though. Yeah, we know that medal count meant the world to you. You spent a ton of money and energy trying to convince the world that having all this snowy competition in your backyard would be a cakewalk. Don't worry, we're sure you'll crack double digits in the medal count by the end of the week. Next time, tell your athletes to relax and take a tip from U.S. golden boy Shaun White: listen to your iPod during your Olympic events. Yeah, that's the ticket. ... Give everyone on your team an Official Team Canada Olympic iPod. That way, even if your athlete doesn't win a medal, he can be like, "Hey! ... Free iPod!"

4. G.L.O.C.

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
8.2 8.4 16.6

Credentials: By that, of course, we mean we're ready for someone to invent a whole new brand of sports entertainment programming: The Gorgeous Ladies of Curling! Seriously, get this league started ASAP! You've got the benefit of these three things: (A) Curling freaks can get their televised fix year-round. (B) What product wouldn't look great advertised on a women's curling uniform? And (C) We just can't take our eyes off these women curlers. Whether it's beach volleyball where nothing's left to the imagination or curling where just about everything's left to the imagination, there's something always compelling about watching a woman expertly perform a sport most guys would never attempt in real life.

5. John Daly, Underwear Model

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
7.5 7.7 15.2

Credentials: Don't look now (Seriously. ... Don't. Look. Now.), but everyone's favorite seesawin' professional golfer is on the upswing as he endorses and poses for the Slix brand of men's undergarments. That's so classy, we've got to ask, "Was Larry the Cable Guy unavailable?"

6. Steve Williams vs. Hecklers

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
6.4 6.4 12.8

Credentials: Tiger's caddie vows he'll remain ever-vigilant to ward off anyone who wants to mix it up with the world's No. 1 golfer once he returns to competition. But we've got to counter by asking: Can you please give us Tiger's first one or two tourneys back with unfettered heckling? Yeah, 80 percent of it would be pretty ugly and unproductive. But golf fans by and large are smart enough to come up with something funny and clever. Can we at least set up auditions in which people could get their put-downs approved? Oh, and Steve, are you ready for this contingency -- what if the heckler is Elin? She should be allowed a pass.

7. Bode Miller

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
6.3 6.1 12.4

Credentials: The good news: With medals raining down on him in Vancouver, his reversal of fortune from Torino is complete. The bad news: Anticipating that he'll need to suffer a setback to motivate him in the future, his training plans will include driving an SUV over a fire hydrant in front of Tiger Woods' house.

8. T-Mac to NYC

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
5.9 5.1 11.0

Credentials: NBA trade deadline madness included Tracy McGrady and his $23 million contract landing in Madison Square Garden. Knicks fans don't know whether they'll be more excited to see T-Mac run up and down the court for the rest of this season or see that contract run out the door to lead big free agents back into the building next season.

9. Danica Patrick

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
5.1 4.6 9.7

Credentials: Seeing her finish a Nationwide race is strange, but it's still better than seeing Michael Phelps wandering around Vancouver. In both cases we know they're famous for doing one thing, but we understand why they're hanging around this other venue. At least in Danica's case we know she's focused on the finish line. For Phelps, we worry that he'll get wacky one night and wake up trying to swim the 100 butterfly on top of the speedskating track.

10. Bryant McKinnie

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
4.0 3.9 7.9

Credentials: How embarrassing -- the NFL is demanding the Vikings offensive tackle reimburse the league $4,285 for expenses stemming from when he skipped out on the Pro Bowl. Even worse: The roster of his keeper fantasy league is frozen until he pays his entry fee, too.

11. Johnny Damon To Be a Tiger

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
3.8 3.4 7.2

Credentials: Nothing really wiseacre we can say here about his one-year deal. We just wanted to see whether we could get away with typing "Tiger" and not turn it into a comment about abandoning golf for a year as you go through rehab. Unlike some Tigers we could mention ...

12. The NCAA Bubble

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
3.1 3.5 6.6

Credentials: OK, bracketheads. We're getting closer to the point where we have to decide which teams will be the last four in and the first four out. OK, let's study the conference standings and concentrate ... last four in, first four out ... last four in, first four out ... last four in, first four out ... OK, we're giving up before it starts sounding like we're running a Lamaze class here.

13. Randy Moss

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
2.6 2.5 5.1

Credentials: The wide receiver seems philosophical about the "strictly business" remarks concerning his future with the Patriots. But we don't think he's trying to needle the management about possibly playing for another team next year. If he wanted to needle them, he'd show up at practice in a Jets jersey.

Also receiving votes:
• "Shutter Island": The Leo & Marty movie brought in $40.2 million in its debut weekend. But don't tell anyone the twist ending: that DiCaprio is shocked to find the creepy complex housed in the middle of this unforgiving sea is where the Cubs are holding spring training.

• Hilary Duff: She's now engaged to hockey player Mike Comrie of the Edmonton Oilers. Which means either he's about to be traded to Los Angeles, or it must be love if he persuaded her to move to Edmonton.

• Census commercials: Man, there's something weird about the way we're being bombarded by these at every TV break. Maybe the real census-taking device isn't the 10-minute survey to fill out but rather secret government technology in the TV that can see us whenever these spots come on. Not to make you paranoid or anything ...

Never receiving votes:
• Simon Cowell: He was going to invite Kevin Smith to be his replacement on "American Idol" but got nervous about the director needing to take up two judges' seats.

• Oregon football: Kicked a wide receiver off the team apparently because of his Facebook posts. USC coach Lane Kiffin is furious that another Pac-10 team found out how to do this before he did.

• Olympic tape delays: As of the posting of this piece, our joke about Olympic tape delays isn't ready yet. Refresh this page every five minutes to see whether we ever came up with anything.

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