Commentary

Power Rankings: Waffle edition

Originally Published: December 28, 2009
By Greg Hardy | Special to Page 2

Increase your quality time with the family by gathering around for the Page 2 Power Rankings! Our formula combines the results of two surveys: A human poll concocted by ESPN Page 2's Gregory Hardy; and a scientifically calibrated poll generated by computer analysis. Unfortunately, the computer we tapped was a broken-down, off-brand Blu-ray player we found among a neighbor's curbside trash that none of the stores will let us exchange for a working one. To the results!

1. Urban Meyer's fresh waffles

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
9.6 9.5 19.1

Credentials: OK, we checked with the Florida Highway Patrol. There's no record of Urban Meyer's car plowing over a fire hydrant on his neighbor's lawn at 2 a.m. So what's up with the out-of-nowhere flippin' and a-floppin' about whether he'll still turn the wheel of the Gators' monster truck? Now he's taking an indefinite leave of absence to get his priorities in order concerning his health and family. Good idea. But there's still too many unanswered questions about Urb's immediate future. Such as: How much of his recuperation time will be spent undergoing counseling from Dr. Lou?


2. Imperfect Indy

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
9.4 8.5 17.9

Credentials: Peyton Manning seemed to take it in stride that the Colts' latest run at perfection was yanked from under him against the Jets. Brett Favre, on the other hand, was so upset at watching the benching on his TV that he tried to hop on a flight to Indianapolis to volunteer to take over the game and go for the win. OK, Favre might not have been able to save the day, but the Indy fans who paid $125 a ticket would have been more entertained by that than by watching scrubs hand the Jets a free victory.


3. Airline travel

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
8.7 9.1 17.8

Credentials: Security on international flights is a matter of life and death again. All new restrictions will go into effect immediately. For example, air marshals are now under orders to frisk each peanut in every snack pack handed out by flight attendants. Things will only get hairier as the world descends upon Vancouver for the Winter Olympics. Passengers will be asked to remain vigilant in rooting out terrorist operatives who try to light explosives using the old, "Hey, I was just trying to light this Olympic torch because I'm part of the big relay" excuse.


4. Controlling destiny

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
8.1 8.5 16.6

Credentials: We're talking the AFC playoff picture, not the destiny of the universe. As in the Baltimore Ravens and New York Jets control whether they're destined to qualify for the postseason. Win the Week 17 matchups and they're in. Lose, and well maybe we do risk destiny unraveling on us. If Oakland can beat visiting Baltimore with a playoff berth on the line, we can easily see Al Davis conjuring a Raider Nation Black Hole that tears open the space-time continuum and destroys the universe as we know it. Which would really make Rex Ryan cry.


5. Grinchy L.A. Lakers fans

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
8.0 7.9 15.9

Credentials: The only thing more shocking than seeing dozens of freebie foam fingermitts rain down on the Staples Center court on Christmas Day as the Lakers were pounded by the Cavs 102-87 was realizing this: all that litter was being hurled from some expensive seats. Which means, odds are, some millionaire Hollywood phony who has recorded countless impassioned "Please don't litter! Please save the Earth! Please dispose of non-biodegradable foam properly!" public service ads was now doing exactly the opposite. Oh well, that's show biz.


6. Returning Christmas gifts

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
7.8 7.7 15.5

Credentials: You'd think in a down economy people would be grateful for whatever gifts were found under the Christmas tree. But no, the hot trend this holiday season is to return the fancy luxury gifts Santa got you in exchange for the necessities. The Wii console is brought back to cover this week's groceries. Her watch is refunded to pay for that oil change and new tires. And that pair of BCS title game tickets is swapped for a Nick Saban-autographed Crimson Tide Snuggie. So get in line, buster.


7. "Sherlock Holmes"

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
7.8 7.3 15.1

Credentials: We're not saying the action sequences in Guy Ritchie's movie are out of whack with the original Sir Arthur Conan Doyle texts, but there was a point where we were no longer expecting Robert Downey Jr. to say "Elementary, my dear Watson!" but were waiting for him to bust out a "Yippee-ki-yay, mutha-[bleeper]!"


8. Giants Stadium's closing time

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
6.4 6.3 12.7

Credentials: In honor of the Giants' final game at their home of 34 seasons, they showed a video of the Bruce Springsteen song "Wrecking Ball." After getting whacked by the Panthers 41-9, it might have been more fitting to show the cast of "Jersey Shore" crooning "Naa naa naa, hey hey hey, goodbye."


9. Tracy McGrady

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
4.7 4.4 9.1

Credentials: The man who makes $23.2 million wants to play more minutes. Which led to the Rockets telling him it was OK to get lost while they were on a two-day road trip at New Jersey and Cleveland. If only the producers who paid John Travolta $25 million a picture took a similar stance in making him sit out of movies where he's only going to ham it up and smirk instead of doing some real acting.


10. Fantasy playoffs

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
4.4 4.2 8.6

Credentials: Week 16 in the NFL means only one thing: Fantasy Football Championship Week. If you ever qualify for your league's final, do what we do -- try to trick your opponent into thinking the wise thing to do this time of year is rest starters. Point out, hey, it's what all the big-shot real NFL coaches do with their guys.


11. Charlie Sheen

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
3.7 4.1 7.8

Credentials: The actor who gave us Ricky "Wild Thing" Vaughn spent time in an Aspen, Colo., jail on Christmas Day on domestic violence charges. Every time one of his cheesy underwear commercials that he does with Michael Jordan aired over the weekend, we kept envisioning MJ doing something to Sheen that would draw a technical.


12. Chicago Bulls

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
3.1 3.7 6.8

Credentials: We're not saying that time is short for coach Vinny Del Negro in light of the Bulls' recent free fall. But it can't be good when you get sympathy cards in the mail from the New Jersey Nets front office.


13. Tiger Woods

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
2.9 1.5 4.4

Credentials: Since he's still out of sight, we can only assume he got his Christmas wish: that some random college football coach would drop a bombshell over the weekend to make sure nobody thought of his problems for a news cycle or two.


Also receiving votes:
• Dallas Cowboys: Great news out of Sunday night's game! Wade Phillips and Tony Romo have returned healthy and rested from their annual December leave of absence from the team.

• New Year's Eve: Can we get a ruling on the preferred pronunciation of the coming year? Let us know if we're supposed to say "Twenty-ten" or "Two-thousand-ten." We refuse to consider "Two-oh one-oh."

• Baseball umpires: They're set to have a new deal with Major League Baseball that will last until 2014. One last sticking point was the umps' refusal to sign off on concessions that the MLB commissioner could at any time institute random testing for Twinkies.

Never receiving votes:
• FireRonZook.com: During the brief spell when it looked like the Gators would have to launch a full-strike coaching search, we checked up for nostalgia's sake on the Web site that started the "FireOurCoach.com" craze. Turns out the site is vacant now ... but maybe an Illinois fan is getting ready to write a check for the domain name.

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

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