Commentary

Power Rankings: Magic edition

Originally Published: September 27, 2010
By Greg Hardy | Special to Page 2

Count your blessings for another 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 computer got sidetracked when it decided to download a bootleg Ken Burns baseball documentary that examines clutch Mets playoff runs of the 2000s. To the results!

1. Baseball magic numbers

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
9.7 9.8 19.5

Credentials: First of all, Major League Baseball marketing had a huge swing-and-miss by not having the nightly Magic Number Playoff Chase Watch sponsored by the upcoming "Harry Potter and the Part 6 and a Half" movie. There's a once-in-a-lifetime no-brainer campaign out the window. Secondly, when it comes to the frantic AL East race between the Yankees and Rays, any talk of magic numbers is just going to confuse the Tampa Bay organization. Down in St. Petersburg, a magic number is any attendance figure greater than 10,000.


2. Carmelo Anthony

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
9.2 9.0 18.2

Credentials: His four-team trade to New Jersey kept stalling because Denver couldn't find two other NBA franchises that can agree what the "Jersey Shore" acronym "GTL" stands for. Charlotte insists it stands for "guns, tattoos and lockout." Utah was closer but fell short with "gym, tan, lint."


3. Michael Vick

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
8.0 8.4 16.4

Credentials: The Eagles' redemption story is off to a fast start, but there's still a long way to the playoffs. But queue up the stories about how Vick's 18-month prison stay provided the motivation to get his game in order. And if Andy Reid ever needs to get his quarterback back in line after a few interceptions, he can always regale Vick with stories from Philadelphia football lore about how Eagles home football games traditionally require a functioning court of law to be in order beneath the stadium.


4. Winless NFL teams

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
7.8 7.8 15.6

Credentials: Thank you Bills, Browns, Lions, Panthers and 49ers for keeping our win-or-die pools afloat. At least there's one mode of fantasy football in which Jimmy Clausen can be counted on to be part of a keeper league.


5. Battle for Texas

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
7.2 7.7 14.9

Credentials: Order was somewhat restored between the Lone Star State's pro teams when the Cowboys stomped the Texans. But the college Longhorns received a serious cattle prod by being upset at home by UCLA 34-12. Should Mack Brown try to ask Wade Phillips for advice on how to get back into shape for the next game against Oklahoma in Dallas? Probably not, because Wade Phillips Job Security Crisis Control Advice consists entirely of spending a weekend vacuuming out Jerry Jones' limousines and helicopters.


6. Cupcake excuses

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
6.1 6.6 12.7

Credentials: College football's uneven playing field leads to nuclear scoreboard blowouts every week. But the cupcakes need to just cash their appearance checks and keep quiet. Said Austin Peay coach Rick Christophel after his team's 70-3 cheese-grating at Wisconsin: "You laugh about things like this, but I've got 10 or 12 guys who have never been on an airplane before." What does mode of transportation have to do with margin of victory? Would the Governors have scored more points if they had ridden their bikes to Madison?


7. Commonwealth Games in crisis

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
5.8 5.3 11.1

Credentials: News is not good in New Delhi. Reportedly, the athletes village includes housing littered with chewing tobacco, construction debris, human filth and the occasional live snake. Some have gone on record as saying the conditions are worse than those that visitors used to find at Shea Stadium.


8. N.Y. Jets' antics

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
5.3 5.6 10.9

Credentials: As long as the Jets are winning, nonsense such as Rex Ryan dumping a watercooler onto Jason Taylor's head will look as though the organization is being complimented for playing by its own rules on the way to an inevitable Super Bowl triumph. Just wait for a three-game losing streak, and watercooler talk will start revolving around finger-pointing of who spiked Ryan's morning Starbucks cup with superstrength laxative.


9. NASCAR Chase for the Cup

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
5.3 5.3 10.6

Credentials: With eight races left, Jimmie Johnson is charging hard for his fifth championship in a row. Imagine how much faster the No. 48 car would go if he didn't haul his four trophies in the trunk during qualifying.


10. $10 million worth of golf

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
4.7 5.6 10.3

Credentials: Congratulations to Jim Furyk for busting open the FedEx Cup piñata. Although if you'd have asked most PGA golfers a year or two ago, they'd gladly have paid Tiger Woods a $20 million bribe not to be competitive on Tour for an entire year.


11. Kenny Powers, Cockfighter

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
4.8 4.4 9.2

Credentials: Season 2 of "Eastbound & Down" opened with baseball outcast KP strutting his stuff in Mexico's cockfighting circles. HBO Sports, take note of the viewership ratings: If real pro boxing isn't providing intriguing matchups, maybe broadcasting live footage of angry and frightened roosters going at it can add a spark.


12. NFL front-office belt-tightening

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
4.6 4.3 8.9

Credentials: The league is already talking about how it will keep costs down in the event of a work stoppage next season. At the top of the list? Replacing NFL Network game broadcasts with marathon reruns of "Alf."


13. Colorado's juiced baseballs

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
3.1 2.4 5.5

Credentials: Nobody likes a tattletale. Except Major League Baseball. And in Denver, umpires were monitoring the Rockies' game balls this past weekend after the Giants wondered aloud whether the balls weren't being properly stored in the Coors Field humidor. Coors Field officials dismissed rumors that the balls were being kept in the bottom of pitchers of Keystone Light.


Also receiving votes
• Nevada football: The Wolf Pack are ranked in the Associated Press poll for the first time since 1948. Even by Notre Dame standards, that's a long wait for a return to glory.

Never receiving votes
• "No Ordinary Family": Our interest level is low if this TV show is a sitcom rip-off of "The Incredibles." Our interest level is high if this is a reality show about a Steinbrenner marrying a Kardashian.

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.