Print and Go Back ESPN.com: Page 2 [Print without images]

Tuesday, August 24, 2010
Power Rankings: Kyle Busch edition

By Greg Hardy
Special to Page 2

It's time to buckle up for a new edition 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 has been frozen ever since we asked it to project whether the Mountain West or the WAC had better football teams. It lost track of what teams belonged in which conference, so it just appointed them all as new partners in a rebooted Southwest Conference. Just don't tell anyone in Texas, Oklahoma or Arkansas. To the results!

1. Kyle Busch Fan Club

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
9.7 9.4 19.1

Credentials: Anyone can drive a car. But nobody's ever won all three races in a NASCAR weekend -- Trucks, Nationwide and Sprint Cup -- until Kyle Busch did it this weekend in Bristol, Tenn. Now if only he'd stop spinning out other drivers, like Brad Keselowski, maybe Busch would win some popularity contests among his peers. And then maybe other drivers, like Brad Keselowski, would stop calling Busch dirty names over a microphone in front of an entire race crowd. Well, for other drivers, track debris means the parts of the car that fall off when they slam into a wall; for Busch, track debris is the pile of trophies he's running out of room to display.


2. Bittersweet Lou

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
9.2 9.1 18.3

Credentials: Lou Piniella has 1,835 wins as a manager and 37 games remaining in the Cubs' season, but he's only got one mother. So it was an easy call to cash in the chips and head into retirement to be with his family. While it would have been nice to see the Cubs pull out one last win for him at Wrigley Field -- the Braves pounded them 16-5 -- it would have been even more exciting to see Piniella name Carlos Zambrano as interim manager for the rest of the season. The Cubs' season has been too much of a noisy disaster to just go quietly through the motions from here out.


3. Washington Redskins

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
8.6 8.4 17.0

Credentials: Who could have predicted "rhabdomyolysis" would be a trending topic in the NFL preseason? Leave it to the Haynesworth/Shanahan feud to boil over from what could have been a great "Hard Knocks" story line into a tearjerking "General Hospital" soap opera. The difference is, we're waiting for Dan Snyder to charge all of us a copay.


4. Vin Scully

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
7.9 7.8 15.7

Credentials: The 82-year-old announcer will be back for a 62nd year of calling the Dodgers' games. The organization never should have doubted his commitment to covering the team, even though more and more of his outside time is being devoted to giving diction lessons to Snooki.


5. Basketball Worlds

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
7.0 7.7 14.7

Credentials: How's Team USA feeling after tuneup wins against Lithuania and Spain? Pretty good, considering how Coach K pointed out that Kevin Durant and Derrick Rose were playing barefoot because they left their basketball shoes back home. Boy, the things you forgot about packing until you remember on the trans-Atlantic flight. They've got shoe stores in the malls in Europe, right?


6. Pirates Treasure

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
6.1 6.6 12.7

Credentials: What's 18 consecutive losing seasons in major league baseball when you've profited $34.8 million in the past three years? Pittsburgh fans, don't be upset with the mistaken notion that much of that money should have been spent on keeping talent in the clubhouse. Be upset that the figure could be 10 times that if ownership had been betting that money on the Pirates to lose this whole time.


7. Eli's 12 Stitches

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
5.8 5.5 11.3

Credentials: Team doctors for the New York Giants had to act quickly to sew up the quarterback's gory head gash suffered in a preseason game against the Jets. Not just so he'd be OK for the rest of the preseason; they knew Manning had his heart set on seeing a special screening of "Piranha 3D," and they didn't want him freaking out thinking the mean ol' fishies were attracted to his blood.


8. Roger Clemens

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
5.2 5.6 10.8

Credentials: Please don't accuse us of convicting the seven-time Cy Young winner of perjury before he's even had a chance to go on trial. But we were wondering: Rocket, what's the penalty for juicing in prison-league ball?


9. A-Rod's Absence

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
5.3 5.4 10.7

Credentials: The Yankees are 12-0 this season when their third baseman is out of the lineup. In an unrelated story, manager Joe Girardi announced that Rodriguez will be locked in a soundproof broom closet through all of October. Scream all you want, Alex; they'll never find you.


10. 'Hard Knocks'

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
4.7 5.5 10.2

Credentials: HBO has announced that it will release a special DVD package of its Jets coverage with bonus features that include previously unseen highlight footage of drills and alternate language commentary tracks where Rex Ryan curses in Spanish and French.


11. Brett Favre

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
4.8 4.7 9.5

Credentials: The Vikings quarterback insists he's on good terms with coach Brad Childress, and there is no lack of respect between the parties. As proof, Childress earned a lot of bonus points in his favor by carrying Favre's pads during practice and not complaining when Favre left him tied to a goalpost overnight.


12. Omaha Royals

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
4.6 4.3 8.9

Credentials: The minor league team is featuring a "rename the team" contest on its website in honor of moving out of storied Rosenblatt Stadium. The team is hoping to hear something better than the current popular leader, the Omaha Please-Don't-Associate-Our-Name-With-the-Kansas-City-Royals.


13. Fantasy Football Draft Party

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
2.1 2.4 4.5

Credentials: Step One in ensuring you're bringing the right magazines to help you out: Make sure Marshall Faulk isn't on the cover. You've probably picked up an old one.


Also receiving votes
• ArenaBowl XXIII champs: Congratulations to the Spokane Shock for beating down the Tampa Bay Storm 69-57. What was your favorite commercial during the ArenaBowl TV coverage? Ours was the one for the Spokane personal injury lawyer whose law firm spokesman is a break-dancing poodle.

• "True Blood" wedding: Congratulations to series costars Anna Paquin and Stephen Moyer for tying the knot. Speaking of "'til death do they part," would it be tacky of them to pick out their eventual coffins when they return to the set?

Never receiving votes
• WNBA playoffs: Did you even know they were about to start? Sure, in the NBA, the regular season is meaningless. WNBA fans can debate whether the WNBA's regular season or postseason is more meaningless than the NBA preseason

Greg Hardy is a Page 2 contributor. It's all pop culture all the time at Twitter.com/HardyVision.


Back to Page 2


• Philbrick: Page 2's Greatest Hits, 2000-2012
• Caple: Fond memories of a road warrior
• Snibbe: An illustrated history of Page 2
Philbrick, Gallo: Farewell podcast Listen