Commentary

Power Rankings: Volcano edition

Originally Published: April 19, 2010
By Greg Hardy | Special to Page 2

You're blowing up with a new 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, our computer network shares a server with Europe's airline ticketing software, and this week's results were accidentally rerouted to the headquarters of the Icelandic Chimney Sweepers Union. And those guys couldn't answer our calls, because they're all pulling triple overtime shifts until that volcano quits making an ash of itself. To the results!

1. World vs. Volcano

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
9.6 9.5 19.1

Credentials: Holy Eyjafjallajokull, Iceland! Why are you acting like a Phillies fan and vomiting volcanic ash all over Europe like it was an 11-year-old girl? We haven't seen this much widespread ecological and financial calamity -- not to mention crippling delays to travel plans -- since our college roommate tried to move out mid-semester in order to try to dodge his share of the damage deposit. By the way, if you still haven't settled on a name for your fantasy baseball team, may we suggest "The Eyjafjallajokulls Lava Mamas."


2. Joakim Noah's Opinions

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
8.7 8.8 17.5

Credentials: We were going to use this space to comment on Kevin Garnett's suspension from Game 2 in the Celtics-Heat series ... until from halfway across the country Chicago's Noah chimed in to testify that Garnett is a dirty player. Uh, yeah, Joakim? We were going to ask you about Kevin Garnett's elbows right after we made you the 5,385,326th person we asked about where you think your fellow Gator alum Tim Tebow will go in the NFL draft. Otherwise, rest the jaws. If you enjoy tossing out your wacky opinion that much, relax, you've still got a few years of playing before you have to worry about auditioning for "NBA Shootaround."


3. The $410,400 Truth

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
8.5 7.8 16.3

Credentials: Nobody in golf likes a tattletale. Especially during the first playoff hole at the Verizon Heritage. Especially when it comes to a penalty about moving a loose impediment that costs you two strokes. ESPECIALLY when it means you conceded the tournament to Jim Furyk, which means he earns $1.026 million and you settle for $615,600. Brian Davis, because you self-reported a boo-boo that no one else on the planet noticed except for slow-motion TV replays, you said bye-bye at a shot for almost an extra half-million dollars. Mighty noble. Heck, if we had a dollar for every time we lied about something we did on a golf course, we'd have ... let's see, carry the 1 ... yup, an extra $410,400. At least Davis is cryin', not lyin', all the way to the bank.


4. Ubaldo Jimenez

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
7.6 7.3 14.9

Credentials: After learning the breaking news out of Atlanta that a Colorado Rockies pitcher threw a no-hitter against the Braves, we would have been slightly less surprised to hear that Bobby Cox had left behind a lifeless Chipper Jones after squaring off for an MMA match.


5. Mets vs. Cardinals

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
7.2 7.1 14.3

Credentials: Here's what these teams proved by battling to a 2-1 Cardinals decision over 20 freakin' innings Saturday night: We can't say that the NFL draft will be the sporting event with the least amount of physical action this month.


6. Boyle'd Sharks

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
7.1 6.3 13.4

Credentials: Hey, is anyone going to The Hallmark Store later? See if they have any of those cards left that say, "Sorry you accidentally shot the puck into your own goal 51 seconds into an overtime playoff game on the road." I think the thing's got a picture of a heart on the front, but the heart is broken in half. Address it to Dan Boyle, San Jose, California. I think they also have a Simpsons-themed one that makes a Nelson Muntz "Ha-ha!" laugh when you open it. But don't get that one.


7. NFL Draft Lingo

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
6.0 5.8 11.8

Credentials: Yes, we're sure the draft gurus did plenty of homework in breaking down countless college football standouts. But they have to be fakin' what they know about random players at some point, because the commentator analysis eventually becomes a jumble of random adjectives that sound good. In other words, one man's "undersized liability who needs polish when facing pure man schemes but is motivated and worth a gamble" is another man's "high-effort clutch slasher who brings a quality physical presence and should be climbing the boards with his top-shelf speed as he makes the transition."


8. Big Ten Expansion

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
5.2 5.4 10.6

Credentials: Imagine the ramifications of America's first 16-team superconference. It could become so powerful that even after a Big Ten championship game we could still end up with two Big Ten teams vying weeks later for the national championship. Of course, that scenario does bring up the impossible question: Would it then be required for both those teams to lose the BCS title game?


9. Patriots Day

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
5.3 5.1 10.4

Credentials: Beantowners, rejoice! It's a day off from work to watch the Boston Marathon, drink beer, talk in a funny Northeastern accent, you name it. There is no truth to the rumors that a small contingent of disgruntled Red Sox fans seeks to start a new tradition for 2010 that includes throwing David Ortiz into Boston Harbor, but stay tuned to ESPNBoston.com for developments.


10. Pittsburgh Steelers P.R. Department

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
4.9 4.8 9.7

Credentials: "You have reached the Pittsburgh Steelers Public Relations Department. We're either on another line or away from our desk trying to play down the latest mind-boggling hit to our well-crafted image of integrity. But if you leave your name and number and the city in which you've spotted Ben Roethlisberger, we'll return your call as soon as possible."


11. Rained Out NASCAR

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
4.2 4.1 8.3

Credentials: It takes a Texas-sized storm to push a NASCAR race all the way to Monday. Still, we assume that if it would be cheaper to take Jerry Jones' offer to run the race inside Cowboys Stadium, NASCAR would have jumped at it.


12. Jerry Rice

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
4.0 3.9 7.9

Credentials: Football's greatest receiver misses the cut in a Nationwide event? In the immortal words of The Dude: "Obviously, you're not a golfer."


13. Conan O'Brien

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
3.8 2.1 5.9

Credentials: Congrats on the new latenight TBS gig, Coco. That'll teach NBC. On the other hand, you do know you'll be going head-to-head against the 11 p.m. "SportsCenter," right?


Also receiving votes:
• Cal Ripken: We're not saying Peter Angelos is putting up unnecessary barriers to hire the Orioles great back into the organization. But reportedly Ripken was asked to fill out the application questionnaire 2,632 times.

• Tiger Woods: Still trying to wrap his mind around the concept of "self-reported penalties."

Never receiving votes:
• Ice Cube: We can't wait to see his new sitcom on TBS ... right after we dig through our '90s CD collection to make sure this is the same Ice Cube who used to put out albums like "Death Certificate" and "AmeriKKKa's Most Wanted." We're not crazy, are we? That did happen? In this galaxy?

• MMA post-fight brawl: Did the Strikeforce scuffle in Nashville hurt the sport's image? Only if more members of the public don't learn names like Jake Shields, Dan Henderson and Jason Miller afterward. Otherwise, how else do those guys reach the next stop -- their pictures on lunchboxes at Walmart?

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.