Tony Stewart smokes the competition
Anyone who thinks that NASCAR is just a boring display of cars buzzing around in circles should be forced to watch Sunday's Sprint Cup finale. Seriously.
In a battle that came down to the final lap, Tony Stewart took the checkered flag and edged Carl Edwards for Chase supremacy. Although they finished tied in points, Smoke's five wins (all of which came in the playoffs) outweighed Cousin Carl's one.
But Stewart isn't the only newly crowned champ on our list. After beating the Houston Dynamo 1-0 in the MLS Cup, Landon Donovan sneaked into our top five just ahead of Sid the Comeback Kid Crosby and behind BCS-busting quarterbacks Robert Griffin III and Matt Barkley.
So, how did our panel do? Did Tim Tebow deserve better than the No. 6 spot? Worse? Weigh in with your suggestions in the comments section, and you could be selected as a guest ranker for future Cross-Sport lists.
2010-11 Power Rankings: Week 81
|<-- Now that, friends, is a game face. But beyond the mean muggin' and trash talkin' is a three-time Sprint Cup champ who can flat-out drive. Stewart made several in-race comebacks to win his fifth race of the Chase and become just the second owner/driver in the past 30 years to take home the title. He's also the ninth driver to win at least three Sprint Cup Series championships, joining Jimmie Johnson and Jeff Gordon as the only active drivers to do so.|
|Robert Griffin III
|Note to college football coaches: When the Baylor Bears decide to take the ball out of Robert Griffin III's hands to play for overtime, LET THEM. Oklahoma called a late timeout to force Baylor's hand, and it came back to bite the Sooners when Griffin completed a 34-yard touchdown pass with just eight seconds left to pull off the upset. Griffin finished the game with 479 yards passing, 72 yards rushing and four touchdowns to vault to the top of the Heisman charts.|
|While Griffin was causing BCS chaos in Waco, Texas, Barkley was doing the same in Eugene, Ore. His 323 passing yards and four touchdowns were enough to give USC a huge lead over Oregon and hold off a Ducks comeback. Barkley and the Trojans might not be headed to a bowl game this season, but the junior quarterback has the team rolling and could set the stage for even bigger things in 2012.|
|When you set the bar this high, you can't expect to capture too much buzz from an MLS Cup-winning goal. But the Galaxy captain was there when it mattered most, taking a perfect pass from Robbie Keane and rifling it into the corner to capture MVP honors and the team's third league title.|
|Playing his first game in more than 10 months after recovering from concussion-like symptoms, Crosby scored twice and added two assists in the Penguins' 5-0 win over the Islanders. And his game isn't the only thing in midseason form -- did you see that mustache? Just as we remembered it.|
|Take a few minutes away from scowling at his stat line and mechanics to think about this: Tebow accounted for 92 of the Broncos' 95 yards in a stunning come-from-behind win over the Jets. This isn't the best NFL quarterbacks ranking, it's a power ranking. LeBron James is shouting him out on Twitter with an #allhedoiswin hashtag. If Tebow's fourth-quarter magic and 4-1 record don't challenge the notion of power, we don't know what does.|
|There are A LOT of Kevin Smiths in the world, but we guarantee that no one had a better week than the Kevin Smith wearing a Lions uniform. Funny thing is, the Lions didn't sign him until two weeks ago. Smith came out of nowhere to finish with 140 yards and two touchdowns on the ground while adding four catches for 61 yards and a receiving touchdown. Thirty-eight fantasy points later, Smith should find himself on quite a few rosters.|
|Hendo made sure his return to The Octagon was memorable. Fighting under the UFC banner for the first time since 2009, the former Strikeforce light heavyweight champ earned a decision victory over Mauricio Rua in what will go down as one of the greatest fights in UFC history. Even the usually outspoken Dana White was rendered profanityless by the performance, tweeting, "I can not swear enough to describe this fight!"|
|Division III Grinnell College has made headlines for its style of play, featuring up-tempo quick shots and hockey-style line changes that often result in outlandish stat lines. Still, no one could have predicted the outburst that came from Griffin Lentsch, who went off for a line that would make even Kobe Bryant jealous: 27-of-55 from the field, 15-of-33 from 3-point range for 89 points. And no assists. Hey, when you're hot, keep shooting.|
|The eyes of the golf world may have been on Tiger Woods, who struggled early but rebounded to clinch the Presidents Cup for the U.S., but Tiger's heroics wouldn't have been possible without Jim Furyk. The 41-year-old went a perfect 5-0 down under, leading Team USA to a victory over its international opponents. Furyk now has 20 career wins in Presidents Cup play, matching Woods for the most all time.|
CROSS-SPORT POWER RANKINGS 2011
Cross-Sport Power Rankings compares the best athletes across all professional sports. Check out the rest of our individual sport power rankings.