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Monday, April 11, 2011
Power Rankings: Collapse edition

By Greg Hardy
Special to Page 2

Stop chasing your golf ball into the neighbor's yard and get ready for another round 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 wasn't able to finish its calculations because it was denied access to Augusta National's locker room. To the results!

1. Character-building meltdowns

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
9.4 9.6 19.0

Credentials: "I didn't handle it particularly well today, obviously, but it was a character-building day." Those were the famous last words of 21-year-old Rory McIlroy, who saw the back nine run of his final-day shot at Augusta glory turn into the type of experience an overindulged college student might have on a spring break miniature golf course at 4 in the morning. Poor guy, there have to be easier ways to build character. How about any time you hit a ball next to a cabin or house during a round, you can't continue play until you've painted the entire house, using Mr. Miyagi-instructed style brushstrokes. Rory, you're too young to fully appreciate the character-building lessons of '80s movies, but with Danny LaRusso as our witness, they work. Triple-bogey cross our heart.


2. Charl Schwartzel, FYI

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
9.5 9.1 18.6

Credentials: And now, the golfing world scrambles to learn as much as it can as fast as it can about its latest out-of-nowhere major champion. Our contribution is this fun fact: Charl's ATM password is "Lrahc."


3. Gruff Tiger Woods

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
8.8 8.4 17.2

Credentials: Here's our suggestion for getting the audience on your side when it comes to media interviews. OK, we understand that you might have issues letting people know your true feelings. But what if you put a puppet of, say, a cuddly tiger character on your hand at your media appearances and have the tiger "talk" on your behalf? Hey, it worked for Mel Gibson in "The Beaver"! … What's that? It didn't work for Mel Gibson? Well, try the tiger puppet thing anyway, you'd sell a million of them for Christmas.


4. Red Sox rebound

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
7.7 7.4 15.1

Credentials: You've got to excuse New England sports fans for having to be talked down from the ledge after Boston started the baseball season 0-6. That part of the country has had a very neurotic relationship with the Zen of Win-Loss numerology ever since the football team there started 18-0 a few years ago. It's that "0" on either side of the Win-Loss column that makes the folks there more nervous than Manny Ramirez at a PED test (ooh, too soon?)


5. NFL talks

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
7.1 7.6 14.7

Credentials: Now a judge is saying it's going to take forced mediation to talk sense into the players and owners. It seems we're entering the part of the negotiations that NFL observers call "the never-ending storyline that never gets resolved" phase … it joins topics such as "When will there be a franchise in Los Angeles again?" … "When will the Cincinnati Bengals stop embarrassing themselves?" … "Jerry Jones demands excellence from everyone but himself" … and, of course, "Run! It's Al Davis!"


6. Lakers panic mode

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
6.2 6.5 12.7

Credentials: Note to anyone trying to downplay the notion of "The Lakers losing five in a row at the end of the regular season is a big deal." We're not saying you're looking at the world through gold and purple glasses, but we have a strange suspicion that you would take Phil Jackson at his word if he told you the Lakers could survive five losses in a row in the playoffs, too.


7. Bonds jury

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
5.4 5.3 10.7

Credentials: Hmmm. Is it a sign that Sidney Lumet, the director of "12 Angry Men," dies on the weekend that the Bonds trial goes to deliberation? Maybe it's time for Hollywood to order a remake/reboot based on "the cream" and "the clear." Only two problems need to be overcome: (1) If fans don't care about the real trial for free on the news, are they going to pay $11 to see a fake version? (2) How lucrative could product placement deals for flaxseed oil possibly be?


8. Norm Macdonald

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
5.2 5.0 10.2

Credentials: We're sending a sincere "best of luck" to the comedian who taught us everything we know about sarcasm and O.J. Simpson jokes when he launches "Sports Show With Norm MacDonald" on Comedy Central this week. It'll certainly fill the void of "Weekend Update" alums who host a sports comedy show on cable that we've felt since Dennis Miller and Versus parted ways.


9. WNBA draft

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
5.1 4.4 9.5

Credentials: We'll start holding a sweepstakes for best guesses at an WNBA mock draft right after we have a contest to see who among you can name all the WNBA teams off the top of your head. Let's see, there's, um … uh … well, we don't want to give the answers away before you try.


10. Gators win bronze

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
5.0 4.2 9.2

Credentials: The University of Florida capped its spring football weekend by unveiling statues of its Heisman-winning QBs: Steve Spurrier, Danny Wuerffel and Tim Tebow. Can it be considered a matching gift if John Elway vows to commission a Tebow statue in Denver if Timmy ever wins a Super Bowl for the Broncos? We'll let the deafening silence answer that question.


11. Kobe Bryant, pitchman

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
4.2 4.1 8.3

Credentials: Have you seen the commercial in which he deftly drives a Smart car to thwart an art theft? It's awfully clever, though they missed a very open look by not ending the spot with Bryant taunting the thief with, "How's my exhaust taste?!"


12. NHL playoffs

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
4.0 3.3 7.3

Credentials: How late is too late to get into the playoffs? The Carolina Hurricanes and Chicago Blackhawks each had home-game "win and you're in" scenarios to end the regular season -- and each lost. But the Blackhawks backed into the postseason when the Minnesota Wild beat the Dallas Stars later Sunday. We don't have a punch line here, we just wanted to see what it's like to have the words "Minnesota Wild" appear in the Power Rankings for the first time. Heck, that might be the first time we've even typed the words "Minnesota Wild" since time began.


13. Minnesota-Duluth!

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
3.1 3.4 6.5

Credentials: Congrats to the Bulldogs for beating nine-time champion Michigan in the NCAA men's hockey championship. We can't decide which way we would rather celebrate: By parading the streets, chanting, "Duluth! Duluth! Duluth is on fire! We don't need no water … because the fire will melt the rink's ice and that will extinguish the blaze" … or … have T-shirts with a twist on the Official Catchphrase of 2011: "Duluth! WINNING!"


Also receiving votes
• That's terrific bass! Which team did you have in your college bass fishing bracket? Well, step aside doubters, because the Florida Gators are back-to-back national champions after winning this weekend's FLW College Fishing National Championship. Is it too late to add a rod and reel to that Tebow statue? The best part of the win is that new offensive coordinator Charlie Weis was hungry for seafood anyway.

Never receiving votes
• Bye-bye, Manny Ramirez: We figured the aging slugger was racing the clock when he joined Tampa Bay in the offseason, but who had the Rays being five games out of first place at the Manny-Star break?

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


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