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Monday, October 10, 2011
Updated: October 11, 9:37 PM ET
Power Rankings: NBA Silence Edition

By Greg Hardy
Special to Page 2

Welcome to the negotiating table of ESPN.com's 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 needed to run through this week's computations more than 10 billion times before it stopped answering each inquiry with "Why, oh why, couldn't I have been programmed by Steve Jobs?!?" To the results!

1. NBA talks

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
9.5 9.6 19.1

Credentials: Talk about a situation discouraging beyond words. The NBA -- a league built on the world's greatest trash talking -- can't agree to a conversation about how to get the regular season started. We're treated to "No comment" after "No comment" as the negotiators leave the building after another round of fruitless discussion. NBA owners and players, if you can't entertain us with October basketball, we're granting you the world's biggest "Permission To Speak Freely" permission slip to tell us what you really think about each other's stances. Wait a minute, we've never really been entertained by October basketball in the first place. Oh well, we'll just have to find other things to spend our entertainment dollars on if we can't see a 1-3 Charlotte Bobcats team tip off against an 0-4 Sacramento Kings squad.


2. Milwaukee vs. St. Louis

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
9.5 9.0 18.5

Credentials: We're not saying there's bad blood escalating between the Brewers and the Cardinals. But reportedly Zack Greinke was seen at his locker thumbing through a thesaurus for synonyms for "phony" that he can feed the media about Chris Carpenter. OK, it's a good thing the Brewers can do their talking with their bats, because baseball trash talk might be the only thing more boring than an October Bobcats-Kings game.


3. Limping Tigers

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
8.8 8.2 17.0

Credentials: Just when it seemed like all the stars were aligning in Detroit's sporting universe, the Tigers have to survive a series against the defending ALCS champs by playing a pretty-banged-up Delmon Young in place of a definitely-out Magglio Ordonez. It's either that, or we find out how well Jim Leyland can hit against left-handed pitching after he stubs out his cigarette and walks up to the plate.


4. Al Davis, R.I.P.

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
7.7 7.2 14.9

Credentials: Across the football world, we've been witnessing the bittersweet delicate footwork of people honoring the maverick owner for his love of the game while sidestepping the thorny issues of his … well, being Al Davis. The two things we're most looking forward to out of Oakland for the rest of the season are 1) each Raiders victory being punctuated by tearful salutes to their mentor, and 2) finding out whether Davis left $250,000 for Mike Shanahan in his will.


5. Tiger and the hot dog

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
7.1 7.4 14.5

Credentials: Ho-hum, just another boring Sunday round of golf for Tiger Woods where a fan runs onto the putting green and hurls a hot dog at him. Across the country, PR directors of minor league baseball teams are kicking themselves this didn't happen during the summer so that they could have Tiger Woods Hot Dog night. For $20, you get four tickets and four Tiger Dogs and entry into a contest to see who can hit a chili dog the farthest with a 9-iron. So, among moron golf spectators, what would be the Tiger Fast Food Slam of things to throw at him? We're guessing hot dog, cheeseburger, pizza slice and pimento cheese sandwich. But people? Just eat the food and shut up.


6. Philadelphia Dream Teams

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
6.2 6.3 12.5

Credentials: Which city has 102 regular-season wins and has to watch the NLCS on TV? Which city escaped the NFL lockout with an astonishing free-agent haul but has one win through five weeks of football? Hint: Do a Google search of "Philadelphia Dream Team," and within 0.28 seconds you will have 5.1 million frustrated Philly sports fans show up at your door to punch you in the face.


7. Tebow time!

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
5.4 5.1 10.5

Credentials: The 1-4 Denver Broncos are about to enter their bye week, and we'll see who comes out on the other side as their starting quarterback. (Our guess? It will probably be someone who answers to "Timmy.") Undoubtedly, sales of the No. 15 jersey will spike amidst the buzz. But until either John Fox or John Elway can prove they have one hanging in their closets, they can't convince us they're Tebow-level enthusiastic about their QB roster.


8. Texas Christian University

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
5.2 4.8 10.0

Credentials: Let's see: Since 1995, the TCU Horned Frogs have hopped from the Southwest Conference to the Western Athletic Conference, enjoyed a cup of coffee in Conference USA and currently call the Mountain West home. They promised to join the Big East in 2012, but now are geared up to be part of the Big 12 -- where they will get to play again with some of their old Southwest Conference pals. We're beginning to think that TCU boosters are eager for 16-team mega-conferences to evolve just so that in the course of a decade or so they can join and quit at least three different ones.


9. Jimmie Johnson

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
5.1 4.2 9.3

Credentials: Think someone wants to win his sixth Chase for the Cup title in a row? He just led Sunday's Hollywood Casino 400 at Kansas Speedway for 197 of its 272 laps -- after starting in 19th place. He would have led more laps, but he was held up in some slow pit stops in which he elected to finish watching last week's episode of "Breaking Bad" so that he'd be up to speed for the season finale after the race. Now he's both in third place in the point standings AND ready to talk about what happened to Gus.


10. "Real Steel"

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
5.0 4.2 9.2

Credentials: The Hugh Jackman movie about boxing robots won the weekend box office with $27.3 million. Does this mean we're going to start seeing more movies about sports robots, or more movies about robots in general? Because if anyone's interested, we've got a spec script written about a robot farm girl from Kansas who gets carried away by a twister. If there has to be a sports angle, it can be rewritten so that she's a really good robot basketball player, too.


11. Sebastian Vettel

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
4.2 4.0 8.2

Credentials: At 24 years old, the German is the youngest driver ever to win back-to-back Formula One titles. So yes, we'll completely accept that as an excuse for why he still sleeps with "Cars 2" bed sheets.


12. NHL is back

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
4.0 3.2 7.2

Credentials: Hello, Winnipeg! Sorry your season-ticket holders' reintroduction to the NHL regular season was a 5-1 loss to the Canadiens, but considering how the Jets got a standing ovation as they left the ice, your fans are ready to party. Eventually you'll learn how to celebrate victories in public again -- just promise us you won't take crowd behavior lessons from Vancouver fans.


13. Your Halloween costume

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
3.1 2.3 5.4

Credentials: There's still plenty of time to figure out what you're going to dress up as. But sometimes the harder question is whether to make your own costume or buy it from one of those corporate chain party stores. This year we know we definitely want to dress up as an "Occupy Wall Street" protester. We just need to check out the corporate chain party store first to see if they have a good version of that costume, otherwise we'll make our own.


Also receiving votes
• Winning by text message. Brad Faxon ended Saturday's second round of the Champions Tour Insperity Championship with the best golf score. But as rain ruined Sunday's final round and canceled the event, Faxon was declared the winner and awarded $255,000. He found this out via text message. Which got us thinking: Could this be a wave of the future? Not having to compete athletically in a sporting competition, and just be informed via text message that you won? Maybe Tom Brady is running out of the tunnel for the second half of the Super Bowl in Tampa when a monsoon hits Raymond James Stadium, and his Droid buzzes: "Congrats! We're calling game due 2 weather, pick up ur MVP trophy in lobby." That would definitely make it worth having an unlimited texting plan.

Never receiving votes
• Qwikster. It looks like Netflix has come to its senses regarding spinning off its DVD-by-mail service into a separate website, but what gaffe is going to be next? How about this: Because Netflix knows how hectic your day is, from now on every time you download a new movie Netflix will cheerfully send you a text message that tells you how the movie ends so you don't have to watch it all the way to the end. Oh, wait, customer backlash reaches new heights because the totally un-thought-out PR move actually spoils the enjoyment of watching a movie for the purpose of being surprised by the ending. Oh well, back to the drawing board that needs to be trashed because only bad ideas come from there.

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


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