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Monday, January 9, 2012
Rankings: Texans Triumph Edition

By Greg Hardy
Page 2

You're deep in the heart of Texans playoff history with 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 spent the weekend trying to calculate the BCS title game scenarios under which No. 3 Oklahoma State could be catapulted to national champs. The best it could come up with was that Alabama wins a 9-6 overtime game in the Superdome, immediately followed by Cowboys super-booster T. Boone Pickens beating Les Miles in a game of chess orchestrated over a human chessboard where all the pieces are played by ESPNU's production assistants wearing Mardi Gras costumes. To the results!

1. Texans-Lions fortunes


Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
9.4 9.6 19.0

Credentials: Sorry to make you bust out the calculators so early in this week's countdown, but the wild-card weekend marked a milestone in one of our favorite records to keep track of. The Houston Texans won their first playoff game, which has to be a relief for any season-ticket holder who promised he'd wear his lucky underpants until this came to pass. And the Detroit Lions qualified for the playoffs for the first time since 1999, but got crushed by the Saints. Now OK, got your calculators ready? Since 2001, the Houston Texans have won 66 games and the Detroit Lions have won 49. Why is this significant? Because the Houston Texans did not exist until 2002. That's right, with Detroit's 16-game head start -- not to mention being in existence since George Washington opened training camp in Valley Forge -- the expansion Texans have won 17 more games than the Lions. Don't worry, this factoid will get a lot more play once the Texans and the Lions meet in the Super Bowl next season. Or at least some time before a 62-year-old Taylor Swift performs as halftime entertainment.


2. "Mile High miracle"


Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
9.5 9.0 18.5

Credentials: We're as guilty as anyone of fueling Tebow hype, but we've got to draw the line somewhere. Timmy's 80-yard overtime strike to Demaryius Thomas was not, repeat not, a miracle. Magical, perhaps, given the context. But it was just a pass thrown in stride with a bit of stiff-arm added in. It didn't bounce off nine players' hands. A gust of wind didn't send it swirling like a "Forrest Gump" feather 'til it landed in the right place. No one caught it with his mouth. Ask the Steelers, they're experts on Immaculate Receptions.


3. "Big boy football"


Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
8.8 8.2 17.0

Credentials: That's what LSU coach Les Miles promised will be on display Monday night in the BCS title game. Which, if you've ever been alone in Les Miles' office while he stepped outside to answer a recruiting phone call, you'll know is the title of one of his many volumes of secret playbooks lining his bookshelf. There's also, "Nonconference infants in diapers football," "SEC bottom-feeder toddler football," "SEC title game high school scavenger hunt football" and "Trick plays so bizarre, voices of players from the other team will change like they just got hit with puberty again football." Warning: The "big boy football" is rated NC-17, so no one under 17 is allowed to read even with permission from a parent or guardian.


4. Saints on the road


Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
7.7 7.2 14.9

Credentials: If Drew Brees wants to advance to the NFC title game, he's going to have to get his high-powered offense on track in San Francisco's windy, muddy bayou impression of a football field, as opposed to the climate-controlled precision turf of the Superdome. But maybe it's for the best that the Saints have to go into road-warrior mode. After the BCS title game, Alabama and LSU fans will have partied so hard that for the rest of the week New Orleans will be exhausted to the point that anyone who needs to get to work will be burning Mardi Gras floats for light and heat.


5. "The Big Miss"


Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
7.1 7.4 14.5

Credentials: That's the name of the book written by Hank Haney, Tiger Woods' ex-swing coach, that will slice into stores at the end of March. Already we're hearing that it's not going to contain anything much TMZ-worthy, so the jury's out as to whether it will be worth the cover price. What we'd pay top dollar for is if Woods reads the audio book version and provides uncensored point-counterpoint to anything he takes issue with. Tiger, until you regain all your lost sponsorships, ask your accountant how much it would take to make this worth your while.


6. Elin Nordegren's good housekeeping


Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
6.2 6.3 12.5

Credentials: Meanwhile, photos confirm that the $12 million oceanfront mansion, built in 1932, Woods' ex-wife owns in North Palm Beach, Fla., was demolished. The contractor would not confirm if it proved impossible to complete renovation plans to accommodate a guest bedroom for Tiger that could be built atop a trap door over a bottomless pit.


7. Baby Blue


Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
5.4 5.1 10.5

Credentials: In honor of the birth of Blue Ivy Carter to Beyonce and Jay-Z, the New Jersey Nets have announced that all babies born in January 2012 will be allowed free admittance for life to all home games the franchise plays once they move to Brooklyn. Fine print: Offer valid only if both parents are Grammy-winners and the dad is a part-owner of the team.


8. Mavs at the White House


Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
5.2 4.8 10.0

Credentials: The NBA champions are being honored in D.C., and there's some buzz over the reason Delonte West won't be with his teammates when they meet the president. The real story we want to know is how much $$$ Mark Cuban is prepared to donate to the Democratic Party if Obama will give the OK for the Dallas owner to be legally allowed to waterboard NBA refs.


9. GoDaddy.com Bowl


Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
5.1 4.2 9.3

Credentials: Congratulations to the Northern Illinois Huskies for taking it to the Arkansas State Red Wolves 38-20 in Sunday night's GoDaddy.com Bowl. In addition to winning a big, obnoxious trophy, the Huskies will be entitled next season to field a cheerleading squad made up entirely of coeds who could pass for Danica Patrick or Jillian Michaels. Or at least that's what we'd be expecting to learn in the next obnoxious GoDaddy.com commercial we see.


10. "The Devil Inside"


Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
5.0 4.2 9.2

Credentials: Even though CinemaScore says 19 percent of audiences graded the movie as an F, the $1 million-budget horror film scared up $34.5 million at the box office this weekend. We just hope this doesn't affect the indy documentary we're working on, "The Blue Devil Inside," which chronicles how Coach Krzyzewski maintains his voodoo mind control over the student section at Cameron Indoor Stadium.


11. No NHL realignment


Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
4.2 4.0 8.2

Credentials: Remember how excited you were when you heard pro hockey was going to move to a four-conference structure for 2012-13? Well, you were excited if you're a Columbus Blue Jackets fan who travels to 30 away games a year. Anyway, the Players Association has shot it down for at least one year because they felt they didn't know all the details about how life on the road would change. NHL, this is the most embarrassing way to prove you're not on the same page since there was nearly a lockout over the issue of whether the new official model of Zambonis would be automatic transmission or stick shift.


12. Jeff Jordan


Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
4.0 3.2 7.2

Credentials: Michael Jordan's oldest son is leaving Central Florida's basketball team for "personal reasons." Which we can only assume means we now know who's in charge of dad's upcoming bachelor party. There's no way anyone can be expected to balance the responsibilities of studying for school, training for college hoops AND organizing who gets champagne room privileges all at the same time.


13. New Year's weight loss resolution


Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
3.1 2.3 5.4

Credentials: Hope you're staying strong and starting to see the pounds melt away with your new membership to the gym. We've already had to tear up our progress chart because we ate every bag of Tostitos sitting around the house. Hey, it was a preemptive strike because we didn't want to risk that any of the bags would start chatting with us and cracking bad jokes like in their new TV ads.


Also receiving votes

• NFL coaching searches: Is a hungry assistant coach poised to bring a downtrodden franchise to glory? Will a failed veteran head coach get it right in a new setting? There are so many job openings that we're probably about to see a little of both, but here's a sign your job interview didn't go well: In the space on the application right under where they ask "Who To Contact In The Event of An Emergency," it asks you to list "Who To Appoint As Your Interim Replacement When We Can Your Butt Three Years From Now."

Never receiving votes

• Winless Wizards: The outlook is so bleak for 0-8 Washington that coach Flip Saunders is thinking of bringing in for a tryout all the pounds Charles Barkley has lost on his diet.

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

href="http://twitter.com/HardyVision">Twitter.com/HardyVision.


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