Commentary

Power Rankings: Sacre bleu edition

Originally Published: July 26, 2010
By Greg Hardy | Special to Page 2

It's another ooh-la-la edition of the 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 tech support guy is wanted for questioning in connection with a spork fight that broke out at Comic-Con over the rightful owner of a near-mint copy of "Superman's Pal, Jimmy Olsen No. 141" autographed by Don Rickles, who, you're surely aware, is on the cover. To the results!

1. Lance Outta France

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
9.7 9.7 19.4

Credentials: Being No. 23 is great if you're Michael Jordan in a Bulls jersey and you're winning six NBA titles. Being No. 23 in the final individual standings of the 2010 Tour de France, if you're Lance Armstrong, means America is going to turn off the TV and never pay attention to cycling again. U.S. cyclists, the only trick we can think up on your behalf is to tell America that the Tour de France is switching to a once-every-four-years format.


2. NFL Rookie Hazing

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
9.0 9.8 18.8

Credentials: At the Dallas Cowboys' training camp, newbie Dez Bryant raised eyebrows by making it known he's dropping the tradition of picking up the veterans' pads after practice. We're waiting for NFL commissioner Roger Goodell to rein in this outlaw behavior by demanding that all first-round draft picks who refuse to take part in hazing must return to their college campuses during their bye weeks and participate in a hazing ritual. For instance, pick a random fraternity basement where the rookies can scrub a toilet bowl with a toothbrush at dawn while wearing a Ryan Leaf jersey and a diaper.


3. Avengers Assemble

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
8.6 8.9 17.5

Credentials: OK, big deal. The geek-world-famous Comic-Con in San Diego had the biggest A-list moment in its 41-year history when it unveiled the cast of the 2012 "Avengers" superhero movie, which will star Robert Downey Jr., Samuel L. Jackson, Scarlett Johansson, Mark Ruffalo, Jeremy Renner, etc. You do realize that after paying their fees and buying new computers for the special-effects guys, there's only money left in the budget to hire Dustin "Screech" Diamond to play Dr. Doom?


4. Chip Ganassi

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
7.4 7.8 15.2

Credentials: Congratulations for owning the teams that won the Daytona 500, Indy 500 and Brickyard 400. Of course, it helps that in auto racing's tight economy, most of your competitors these days are fielding cars with lawnmower engines. And not just hidden under the hood; Matt Kenseth actually rode a John Deere that had a spoiler.


5. "Mad Men" Returns

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
7.2 7.7 14.9

Credentials: Fans of the show are happier than a gin-soaked olive that the "best series on television" du jour is back for Season 4. But for the uninitiated, the question is: catch up on previous seasons via DVD or jump right in? If you're watching for the first time, just know that real advertising firms in the 1960s would never stage fake fights to sell canned hams. That's because cigarette companies gave away free hams with every carton purchased.


6. "Chocolate Finger"

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
6.3 6.5 12.8

Credentials: Diabolical. A hedge-fund manager named Anthony Ward has gone Willy Wonka and arranged to corner the market on cocoa, earning the James Bond-inspired villain nickname in the press. He's in position to drive the price of cocoa up, up, up unless someone stops him. And because this is real life and not the movies, we can't just have some superhero secret agent save the day. Although if Angelina Jolie wants to do another Evelyn Salt movie, the script would write itself: "Salt 2: The Melting of Chocolate Finger."


7. A-Rod's Chase

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
5.7 5.4 11.1

Credentials: As usual, the Yankees third baseman can't do anything good without it being controversial. For example, his chase for the 600-homer milestone has inspired the question: "Who are the 600 Major League Baseball players you'd rather be stuck in an elevator with than A-Rod?"


8. T.O. on the Move

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
5.5 5.5 11.0

Credentials: Why is it the worst idea in the world to pair the diva wide receiver with impressionable franchise rookie quarterback Sam Bradford? Sure, the St. Louis Rams have less integrity than a reality TV show, but at least in this "Big Brother" storyline we know who'll be kicked out of the house first.


9. Chris Paul

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
5.3 5.0 10.3

Credentials: Because "taking your talents OUT of New Orleans" has an entirely different connotation from "taking your talents TO New Orleans." One has you leaving to become part of an NBA Finals contender; the other has you likely to wake up on Bourbon Street with your tongue stapled to your chest.


10. The Polka Dot Jersey

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
4.7 5.1 9.8

Credentials: Seriously, in addition to the Yellow Jersey for the individual leader, the Tour De France hands out other jerseys for other achievements. Including a Polka Dot Jersey for being "King of the Mountains." Although "King of the Mountains" sounds more like a title one earns courtesy of a beer endorsement. And call us crazy, but "The Polka Dot Jersey" sounds so stupid it might be the perfect name of our fantasy football team this year.


11. Thor Hushovd

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
4.4 4.7 9.1

Credentials: The Norwegian cyclist owns the best name in the Tour de France, but he has to work on his upside. He finished the 20th and final stage in seventh place, but was only good for 111th overall. It should be a no-brainer to get Marvel Comics to sponsor you in 2011 and 2012 to pump its Thor and Avengers movies. Just make sure you only whip out your hammer to bonk opponents when you take the curves in the mountains, so no one can see you.


12. Lane "The Brain" Kiffin

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
4.2 4.3 8.5

Credentials: The man just can't leave the state of Tennessee alone. Now Jeff Fisher is irked that the Trojans coach raided the Titans' staff. The Volunteer State could erase all its poverty if it honored "Lane Kiffin Arrogance" as a form of legal tender.


13. College Football Agents

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
2.8 2.4 5.2

Credentials: Yes, we wish they would quit playing "Big Pimp on Campus," as Nick Saban might say, by funneling money to players. But more than that, we wish they'd pool their resources and bribe the right people to start a college football playoff.

Also receiving votes
• Andy Schleck: Here's hoping the Luxembourgian cyclist who finished runner-up in this year's Tour de France can find that extra gear next year. Unless, of course, he follows Glen Davis and Louis Oosthuizen by thinking it's cute to be known as "Shrek." Enough with the Shrek nicknames! An exception can be made if Shleck wins the green jersey for points.

Never receiving votes
• Stabbing at Comic-Con: It's all fun and games until someone gets poked in the eye with a pen while fighting over a seat. That's why we never walk the floor unless we're in full Boba Fett armor.

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.