Power Rankings: Gluttony edition

Originally Published: July 6, 2010
By Greg Hardy | Special to Page 2

You're on a roll with 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 is clearly in need of reprogramming, since all weekend long the spellchecker kept insisting the phrase "genius movie director" be changed to "M. Night Shyamalan." To the results!

1. Eat to Win

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Credentials: Here's the only way we see that the Nathan's hot dog people can trump this weekend's soap opera from here out: Force competitors to swallow something different. Honestly, we get the point -- 54 hot dogs in 10 minutes equals a picnic and a half. But here's the twist: Don't show them what they'll be eating until the contest begins. Fig newtons one year. Turkey stuffing the next. Sardines down the road. Yes, Nathan's counts on the contest to boost hot dog sales, and this would seem to counter that, but here's the solution: The winner can pick a charity group which wins a year's supply of hot dogs. That way, the hot dogs will be eaten by people who are, you know, actually HUNGRY. And they can munch at their own pace, of course.

2. World Cup Smuggling

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Credentials: Are we supposed to be impressed that police in Colombia found a life-sized World Cup trophy made from 11 kilograms of cocaine? It's not even an original idea. Everyone knows that back at the height of the home run era, BALCO labs produced baseballs made of steroids.

3. LeBron James' Destination

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Credentials: Our favorite part of the "Where Are The Free Agents Going?" media hysteria is reading the message boards of conspiracy theorists who insist that for the past two decades all NBA free-agent deals had to be approved by Betty White. That viral "Hot in Cleveland" video sure blew her cover.

4. Joey Votto

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Credentials: To put the Cincinnati Reds first baseman's All-Star Game snub in perspective, the Bengals' Chad Ochocinco called and told him what it was like to be voted off "Dancing With the Stars." We're now in search of a psychic who can predict how many alternate dimensions the 2010 Reds have World Series home-field advantage in because Votto drove in the winning run in Anaheim.

5. "Georgia Bulldogs"

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Credentials: It takes years to build a championship-caliber college athletics program. It takes one traffic stop and lurid online police incident report to send a young University of Georgia athletic director into unemployment. But did it have to come down to Damon Evans resigning? Don't we all make mistakes or fall short at one time or other? Hey, even Tim Tebow lost an SEC championship game. In fact, we were really looking forward to Evans making an inspiring "Promise" speech of his own at a news conference. "To the fans and everybody in Bulldog Nation, I'm extremely sorry. But a lot of good will come out of this. You will never see an athletic director push his coaches onto the hot seat faster each offseason." Well, maybe this was for the best.

6. Hand Ball Punishment

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Credentials: Because it's our job to solve every watercooler debate in sports, this is how it has to be. At the World Cup level, is the punishment of a red card and penalty kick worth it to use your hands to stop a goal in the box? Yes, it was worth it to Uruguay's Luis Suarez because Ghana missed the ensuing PK. But from now on, a hand ball like that will result in a red card and a penalty kick ... but the goalie can't be in the net. Empty-net PKs sound like they resolve the "punishment-crime" dilemma. Bring on the next case.

7. Sci-Fi Summer Movies

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Credentials: Good news for the legions of "Last Airbender" fans who were less than thrilled with the much-ridiculed live action version of the beloved cartoon: the producers of "Predators" did some hasty, last-minute reshoots to include a scene where the galaxy's fiercest hunters track down M. Night Shyamalan before he makes good on his promise to film an "Airbender" sequel.

8. Tour de France Pileups

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Credentials: For our next cycling conspiracy theory, Floyd Landis will tell us how every single crash is Lance Armstrong's fault.

9. New York Knicks

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Credentials: Does Amare Stoudemire know that LeBron isn't coming to New York, too? And this isn't the team now owned by a Russian billionaire? Either way, the Knicks will continue to define the entertainment values of futility.

10. Tiger Woods

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Credentials: Here's one question that we know is already off-limits to reporters as Woods prepares for the British Open: "Tiger, do you happen to know how much your divorce payments will be when converted to pounds?"

11. UFC 116

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Credentials: Another big fight, another few days of debating if MMA is doing enough to market itself as a sustainable, mainstream sport. Our advice: Keep doing what you do. No need to mimic anyone else's pageantry. For example, the tradition we see in the World Cup of players trading jerseys? No one who saw Brock Lesnar and Shane Carwin go at it would argue that they needed to show sportsmanship by swapping shorts afterward.

12. Leftover Fireworks

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Credentials: No matter how many fireworks displays went kablooey over the Fourth of July weekend, there's bound to be one batch you never got around to lighting. Which is probably the same batch you forgot to ignite on New Year's Eve. Which, let's face it, were sitting around since last July Fourth, because who goes out of their way to buy fireworks for New Year's? The point is, we need an official holiday that makes it permissible to shoot off the fireworks we forgot to blow up for other holidays.

13. NFL Weddings

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Credentials: Raiders quarterback Kyle Boller got married to former Miss California Carrie Prejean. OK, no one said you had to care what happens on the sub-C-list celebrity calendar. They're the ones who have to be happy with it. Besides, we heard the only thing that didn't go according to plan was that JaMarcus Russell never showed up for the bachelor party.

Also receiving votes

Dale Earnhardt Jr.: Wins a Nationwide race at Daytona while driving a No. 3 car in his old man's old Wrangler color scheme. But maybe this short-term spark would have a better chance for turning into a long-term resurgence if he grew out a moustache like Senior's.

Never receiving votes

Prince: While promoting his new album that's being given away in newspapers and magazines outside America, the essential, eccentric music icon told the Daily Mirror, "The Internet's completely over." If you're one of those people behind the curve who still patrols cyberspace and can't understand what he means, that translates roughly to "The Internet is 404" or "Internet=Fail."

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