Serena smashes competition
Despite the start of the NFL season, two of the top three spots in this week's rankings were reserved for the U.S. Open champs, with 15-time Grand Slam winner Serena Williams taking the crown. Williams dominated the field until the final, when she won a grueling three-set match against Victoria Azarenka, grabbing the attention of our panel. Andy Murray's first career Slam title was good enough to give him the third spot.
Breaking up the tennis monopoly at the top was Redskins phenom Robert Griffin III, who put together one of the best debuts for a rookie quarterback in NFL history. Griffin threw for 320 yards and two touchdowns to lead Washington to an upset of the Saints in New Orleans, one of the toughest places for a visiting QB to play in the NFL. After one game, Griffin is probably already popular enough in D.C. to run for office in this election year.
That's how our panel ranked them, but do you agree? Let your voice be heard in the comments, and if you impress the panel, you could be chosen as a guest ranker for next week.
2012 Cross-Sport Power Rankings panel: Sara Walsh, John Buccigross, Robert Flores, Michael Smith, Bram Weinstein, Mike Hill, Jorge Andres, Charissa Thompson, DJ Gallo, Jim Basquil, Kevin Connors, Jeff MacGregor and Steve Weissman.
The Cross-Sport Power Rankings week runs from Tuesday to Monday, covering all sporting events that fall in that time span.
Cross-Sport Power Rankings: Sept. 4-10
|Wimbledon, the Olympics and now the U.S. Open title; there seems to be no stopping Serena Williams. With her win at Flushing Meadows, the 15-time Grand Slam winner became the first women's tennis player to reach $40 million in earnings, and only the second over the age of 30 (Martina Navratilova was the first) to win the U.S. Open and Wimbledon in the same season.|
|Robert Griffin III
|If he hadn't earned his nickname before, RG3 sure earned it after his Week 1 performance against the Saints. Robert Griffin III lead Washington to its third consecutive season-opening victory, going 19-for-26 for 320 yards and 2 TDs. Oh, yeah: He ran for 42 more yards and had no turnovers. Not too shabby for a rookie quarterback under the bright lights of the Superdome.|
|It's been a breakthrough year for Murray, who can add a Grand Slam trophy to his Olympic gold medal. Murray is the first British men's singles Slam champion since 1936, and cemented his spot in tennis' "Big Four" alongside fellow Grand Slam winners Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal.|
|Just a few months ago, the panel was worried about McIlroy, but the young lad has come on of late, winning three of his past four tournaments. With his sixth career PGA Tour win coming at the BMW Championship, McIlroy is now third (behind Tiger, 15 and Jack, 8) on the list of most victories before turning 24. Is a FedEx Cup title next on the list?|
|Everyone wondered how Manning would do in his first game back after missing the entire 2011 season well, he's back! At least, he looked like his old self in Week 1, completing 19 of 26 passes for 253 yards in a win over the Steelers. The first of his two TD passes gave him 400 for his career, joining Brett Favre and Dan Marino in that elite club.|
|"Who is Kolton Browning?" That's what Arkansas fans had to be asking themselves after the QB led the 30½-point underdog Louisiana-Monroe Warhawks to a 34-31 win over the then-No. 8 Razorbacks. Browning brought his team back from a 21-point deficit and accounted for 481 of his team's total offense. This may not be the last time we hear from Browning or the Warhawks this season.|
|"Big Game" James Shields is still at it. He allowed only seven hits, three earned runs and posted an ERA of 1.59 in the past seven days. The Rays might be offensively challenged but they are in contention for the AL East and have the dependable arm of Shields to lean on down the stretch.|
|Against all odds, the Orioles remain in the thick of the AL East race, and Reynolds' bat is a big reason for that. Over the past week he crushed five home runs -- three against the division-leading Yankees -- and hit .350, well above his .232 season average. Seven of Reynolds' 21 home runs this season have come against New York.|
|Ogletree started the 2012 season with the best game of his career. The fourth-year wide receiver hadn't scored in his first three NFL seasons, then found the end zone twice against the Giants. Not only did Ogletree light up the defending Super Bowl champions, he did it in front of a "home" crowd (Ogletree hails from the New York borough of Queens).|
|The Braves are now 8-0 in games in which Medlen starts out on the mound, and in the past seven days, the right-hander only allowed nine hits and three runs, while posting an ERA of 1.20. His consecutive scoreless-innings streak ended at 40.2 innings after a 3-2 win over the Mets, but Atlanta shouldn't worry -- the heat coming from Medlen doesn't look to be cooling off anytime soon.|
ESPN TOP HEADLINES
- Muhammad Ali hospitalized with pneumonia
- Chargers FG caps 2nd-half rally over 49ers
- Eagles' playoff chances hurt as Redskins win
- Big-play Jackson questions 'naive' Eagles D
MOST SENT STORIES ON ESPN.COM
CROSS-SPORT POWER RANKINGS 2012
Cross-Sport Power Rankings compares the best athletes across all major sports. Check out the rest of our individual sport power rankings.