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Monday, March 7, 2011
Power Rankings: Secrets edition

By Greg Hardy
Special to Page 2

Grab a Kleenex, because it's time for 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 got wrapped up in trying to decipher if "Secret Millionaire" is a show about college football players and their payouts from school boosters. To the results!

1. Heat tattletales

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
9.3 9.9 19.2

Credentials: Erik Spoelstra and his big mouth. When he let slip that his players were tearing up after the loss to the Bulls, he violated a sacred rule of the player-coach dynamic. What happens in the locker room stays in the locker room. Now he had to promise his stars that he won't say anything about what else they need behind the scenes to cope, like LeBron's security blanket, Dwyane's collection of Barbie cheerleader dolls and Bosh's poetry diary. Or else the world is going to learn that when no one is looking, Spoelstra sneaks into Pat Riley's office and tries his hair care products.


2. NFL owners

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
9.5 9.1 18.6

Credentials: As mediation continues over how much money they want to take back from players, whether the schedule will go to 18 games or have expanded playoffs, and what the league will do to make players safer from the threat of concussions, we'd like to remind the players union to make sure all that sabre-rattling isn't a mask to stick in some fine print that all NFL players have to become unpaid butlers for the owners during the off-season. But being an unpaid personal bartender is OK, because at least you can put out a tip jar.


3. WINNING!

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
8.8 8.5 17.3

Credentials: There's a rule among sports headline writers: Avoid the word "win"at all costs. It's boring, cliched, over-used. It takes zero imagination to type "Yankees win World Series,""Lakers win Game 7,""Al Davis wins beauty pageant" (OK, it took a little imagination to come up with that last one). But somehow the Charlie Sheen Tweet machine has managed to turn "WINNING!"into an early, prohibitive front-runner for "2011 Word of the Year." Well, as Tom Petty once said, "Even the losers get lucky sometimes."


4. Bubble teams

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
7.7 7.5 15.2

Credentials: The best thing about an expanded NCAA field is that the teams that will get left out of Selection Sunday will have less to whine about. And if there are fewer people who are going to get noisy about it, that means we have more bars of soap on hand to shove in your mouth if you're still yapping more than 30 minutes after the field has been announced. No more bubble speak!


5. Tyson's pigeons

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
7.2 7.6 14.8

Credentials: Most fascinating thing we've learned about the Animal Planet show that follows Iron Mike and his beloved birdies? It's really hard to get those skittery suckers to stay still long enough to get a mini face tattoo.


6. Split squads

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
6.2 6.5 12.7

Credentials: Nothing gets us in the swing of spring training like studying the split squad rosters. The Mets are particularly excited by bringing extra rookies and college kids into camp, because that creates a bigger pool of prospects to hear a pitch about ownership's exciting Ponzi sch-- er, investment opportunities!


7. Harvard hoops

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
5.4 5.2 10.6

Credentials: For the first time since league play began in the 1950s, the Crimson will at least own a share of the Ivy League title. So how come the rich and brainy school has such a low basketball IQ until now? Well, even if you grow up on a yacht as big as a basketball court, it is hard to practice your three-point shot in the waters off Nantucket.


8. Lady Gaga

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
5.1 5.0 10.1

Credentials: Whether or not you agree that her songs are stomach-turning, the singer has sent a cease-and-desist to the London eatery Icecreamists that was selling "Baby Gaga" ice cream made from human breast milk. By the way, you don't want to know what's in their "Born This Way" scrambled eggs.


9. Shaq out

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
5.1 4.4 9.5

Credentials: Nobody knows when the Celtics center is going to have his right foot rested up enough to return to the court. The longer The Big Shamrock is absent from the roster, the more likely the media will investigate rumors that Shaq aggravated the foot by wearing ill-fitting UGG boots that Tom Brady gave him for Christmas.


10. FIFA fashion police

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
4.8 4.2 9.0

Credentials: Soccer's governing body has put its foot down -- neck warmers can no longer be worn during play. The world soccer community is right to fear that a leg warmer ban could be next, which would pretty much take all the fun out of "'80s Throwback Night" promotions.


11. "Spygate" lawsuit

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
4.1 4.1 8.2

Credentials: Turns out the Supreme Court is not going to hear a class-action case brought by a New York Jets season ticket holder who was trying to pry millions from the Patriots on the grounds that fans were watching rigged games. Still, that's not as frivolous a lawsuit as the one from the guy's who's suing Dan Connolly on the grounds that "Your replica jersey makes my butt look big."


12. Spider-Man safety

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
4.1 3.3 7.4

Credentials: The Broadway play is getting bad marks as an unsafe workplace from OSHA. And while we feel bad that Spidey has been getting banged up during rehearsals, this is exactly why we've always said Wolverine would be the superhero best suited to star in a live production. His instant healing factor means he could fall from a chandelier every night and brush it off no problem. Not to mention, Wolvie has a much more pleasing singing voice.


13. NASCAR tagalongs

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
3.1 3.4 6.5

Credentials: Tony Stewart hurt his chances to win in Las Vegas when he left pit road on Lap 151 with an air hose stuck under a rear quarterpanel. Having extraneous stuff on your ride is always frowned upon in the Sprint Cup. That's why it's the same penalty for dragging an air hose as it is to pick up a hitchhiker from the infield.


Also receiving votes
• BYU Honor Code: Congrats to all the Cougars through the years who've managed to abide by the rules and keep the existence of this checklist something that the general public pretty much was unaware of. As purported comedy writers, we did have one question about the Honor Code: is "stealing jokes" something that will get you in trouble? Or, if caught, could we argue that we weren't "stealing" a joke, but merely making an homage?

Never receiving votes
• Mark Cuban vs. Charlie Sheen: Here's the conspiracy theory for why the Dallas Mavericks owner wants to start his own Project Sheenlight. No, it's not that Cuban wants to put Sheen's tiger's blood to good use in figuring out a new format for the BCS. It would be too hard to explain to Sheen that there's no such thing as "The University of Awesome." We're guessing Cuban's HDNET was all set to launch some home improvement shows, but couldn't find enough run-down structures. They figured that by filming a Sheen reality show in homes it provides, it's only a matter of time before he tears things up on his next bender.

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


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