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Monday, December 19, 2011
Power Rankings: L.A. Clippers Edition

By Greg Hardy
Page 2

Clippers Fans
With Blake Griffin and Chris Paul, no need to be ashamed to be a Clippers fan.

It's time to make a wish that you could be as happy as a lifelong L.A. Clippers fan with the ESPN.com 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 was sent into a timeout corner when it got us disqualified from the fantasy football playoffs by submitting an illegal lineup. It's bad enough we were counting on Jabar Gaffney to save our hides, but labeling him as a WR when he was slated for a WR-TE slot? Unforgivable! To the results!

1. Clippers season tickets

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
9.4 9.6 19.0

Credentials: If Santa is slow making his rounds this year, it's because he just got swamped with wish-list demands for Clippers season tickets. How excited is L.A. that there's a hot new headliner in town? We're being told that even Vanessa Bryant asked for a pair of courtside Clippers season tickets from Kobe in the divorce agreement. And if you can't decide whether you'd rather own a Chris Paul or Blake Griffin jersey, for the low, low processing fee of $200, we will gladly cut those jerseys in half and sew together a new one for you to be seen at the Staples Center. Please indicate your preference between "Paffin" and "Griaul" versions. For an extra $100, we will rush deliver it to you in time for the All-Star break. Wait, is there an All-Star break this season? Then again, who needs an All-Star Game when Chris Paul and Blake Griffin are on the floor for you every night?


2. Saturday Night Tebow

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
9.5 9.2 18.7

Credentials: The Broncos' quarterback's career pop culture stats notched a milestone this weekend when Taran Killam played him as a character in a "Saturday Night Live" sketch. But we're far more interested in waiting for the day when Timmy hosts the show himself. Our wish list of classic characters we'd like him to meet: 5) singing hymns with Dana Carvey's Church Lady; 4) grilling sausages with The Chicago Super Fans; 3) out-pumping Hans and Franz; 2) out-witting Jon Lovitz's Mephistopheles; 1) as a Conehead child trying to convince his parents he should stay on Earth to pursue his improbable dream of becoming an NFL quarterback.


3. Packers perfection or bust

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
8.7 8.2 16.9

Credentials: Well, a record of 13-0 was nice while it lasted. But Kansas City interim coach Romeo Crennel decided to play the Grinch who handed Cheesehead fans a 13-1 mark. Even more remarkable is the fact that the 6-8 Chiefs remain alive in the playoff race, so long as things break their way for an AFC West title. So if Kansas City meets Green Bay again in the Super Bowl and catches the Packers napping again, we're going to say the Chiefs should really, really, really consider Crennel as a viable option for earning the full-time head-coaching position.


4. NBA opening day

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
7.7 7.2 14.9

Credentials: How weird does it feel that we're about to have actual NBA games going on? Right now, we're in that awkward stage, just like if you ordered someone a funny T-shirt off a funny T-shirt Internet site. But when it arrived, it was the right funny message, but not printed on a T-shirt; they sent you a long-sleeve shirt. Now you're stuck. There's no time for them to send you an actual T-shirt. Do you still gift wrap the long-sleeve T-shirt and pretend everything's OK? Is it worth explaining to the person receiving the gift that you've emailed the funny T-shirt site's customer service and eventually you'll get the actual T-shirt delivered, but would you mind wearing the long-sleeve funny T-shirt in the meantime? Who wears long-sleeve funny T-shirts anyway? The moral of the story: Never order a T-shirt with David Stern's face on it and the expression "What Would David Stern Do?"


5. Obscure college bowls

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
7.1 7.4 14.5

Credentials: Who's ready for the Beef 'O' Brady's Bowl in St. Petersburg, Fla.? (Tuesday, 8 p.m., ESPN, set your DVRs!) It pits the 8-4 Florida International Golden Panthers against the 6-6 Marshall Thundering Herd at Tropicana Field, the domed stadium that the Tampa Bay Rays call home. Here's a challenge for the punters (because we imagine you'll be trotting on the field more than once during the contest): If you can hit one of the infamous catwalks, you can earn an invitation to Rays spring training.


6. Eagles playoff chase

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
6.2 6.3 12.5

Credentials: Tone down those "Fire Andy!" chants, Philly fans, because on paper you're still alive to take the NFC East crown. (Great, now we're stuck with a mental image of coach Andy Reid wearing an actual crown.) But first you have to win at Dallas and then end the season triumphant over the Redskins. Hey, when you ordered a Dream Team, you never said it couldn't be for an 8-8 team that owned division tiebreakers. You'd be amazed what you can read on the fine print of those season-ticket agreements.


7. Colts on the board

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
5.4 5.2 10.6

Credentials: Colts fans were so proud about Indy earning its first win that they had horseshoes shaved into the backs of the paper bags they've been wearing over their heads.


8. Rudy on the rocks

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
5.2 4.8 10.0

Credentials: We were stunned to hear that Daniel "Rudy" Ruettiger, of Notre Dame walk-on fame, will pay $382,000 stemming from a case that says he defrauded investors with, among other things, fake taste tests for a sports beverage business he used to be with. Wow, burst our bubble and tell us there's no such thing as Santa Claus. Next thing you know, someone's going to try to dash out illusions and tell us Notre Dame isn't in the running for a BCS title appearance any time soon.


9. Dwight Howard

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
5.1 4.2 9.3

Credentials: So for how much longer will Orlando Magic fans have their superstar once the season starts? At least during this week of exhibitions, Howard has promised not to wear another team's jersey during games to get the look and feel of what his next set of colors will look like. So there's still a level of respect in the relationship.


10. Dan Marino

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
5.0 4.2 9.2

Credentials: With two games to go, Drew Brees needs 304 yards to break the former Miami quarterback's single-season record for yards passing. The 1972 Dolphins, who just busted out the bubbly to toast the fact that for one more year they'll own the only perfect season in NFL history, are right now majorly confused if they're supposed to drink to their comrade either way as well.


11. Johnny Knox

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
4.2 4.1 8.3

Credentials: Thoughts and prayers for the Bears wide receiver as he undergoes surgery to stabilize his vertebrae after that hit against the Seahawks. Heck, we practically needed a chiropractor after squirming on our couch so much after watching that collision.


12. Barry Bonds

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
4.0 3.3 7.3

Credentials: Anyone want to head to the home run king's mansion and help him sit through his sentence of 30 days of house arrest? OK, it will still take a long time to determine if that penalty will stick, but that wouldn't be such a hard thing to handle around the holidays. Help him wrap presents, hide his Elf on the Shelf, pencil in asterisks on all his memorabilia. Maybe he'll even put you in charge of adding performance enhancers to his eggnog.


13. Best of 2011 lists

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
3.1 2.4 5.5

Credentials: It's going to be hard to compile a feel-good year-end list of headlines, considering how many scandals were thrown our way -- all while we were wondering how we were going to pay the bills amid the economic doldrums. But if there's one thing we learned in 2011, just mention how Tim Tebow and/or Steve Jobs inspired you to do something, and everything will turn out hunky-dory.


Also receiving votes
• White Christmas: Season's greetings to Marquette, Mich., and International Falls, Minn., the only two cities in America that have had at least an inch of snow on the ground every Dec. 25 since weather records started going in the books. We'd come and celebrate with you, if we could be guaranteed the roads won't be closed because of snow. We'd hate for our cars to get stuck; it sounds like your snowplow drivers are busy enough as it is.

Never receiving votes
• Fixing soccer: Investigators in Italy have arrested 17 people thus far linked to allegations of match fixing and illegal betting on pro futbol. Defense attorneys, please resist the urge to make your clients flop on the floor in the courtroom and pretend to be in pain when the charges against them are read. Actually, we can't understand how anyone can prove there was a point-shaving scheme orchestrated for a 0-0 outcome.

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


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