Commentary

Power Rankings: Ryder edition

Originally Published: October 4, 2010
By Greg Hardy | Special to Page 2

We've found pictures of you on your Facebook page hooking up with 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 spent the entire weekend writing a spec script prequel to "The Social Network" that focuses on Harvard kids in the 1840s who tried to impress girls by setting up a way to instant telegraph each other. (Spoiler alert: The students end up wasting all their time playing the original Farmville. Which included planting actual turnips.) To the results!

1. Ryder Cup Agony, Ecstasy, Etc.

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
9.7 9.4 19.1

Credentials: Alas, the American team could not pull off a clutch ending against the British on the far side of the Atlantic. The good news is that the improbable, thrilling ending gave golf writers the opportunity to set records for use of the words "improbable" and "thrilling" when describing a worldwide sporting event whose outcome, let's face it, only golf writers find "improbable" and "thrilling." For the rest of us, highlights begin and end with Tiger hitting a golf ball directly into a photographer's camera.


2. Eagles Fans' Loyalty

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
9.2 9.1 18.3

Credentials: Here's an identity crisis for ya: We had to fly out of Philly on Sunday night, and the middle-aged guy seated in front of us wore a green No. 5 replica Donovan McNabb Eagles jersey. First of all, the only reason a middle-aged guy should EVER wear a sports jersey on a domestic flight is if he's returning home after attending a championship game victory. We wanted to ask this fellow if the jersey was supposed to show support for the Eagles or for McNabb or for the city of Philadelphia in a nostalgic/ironic way -- but he snoozed through the entire flight. Maybe the mixed signals inherent in wearing such garb proved too exhausting for extended contemplation. In any event, the important thing is that when in doubt, Philly fans as a whole joined together and were fully capable of doing what comes naturally -- booing.


3. Saban Nation

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
8.6 8.4 17.0

Credentials: How beloved in the state of Alabama is the Crimson Tide coach after a 31-6 giant stomping of nuisance Florida's baby steps? Computer science grad students in Tuscaloosa were set to unveil a new computer social network for fans called "SabanSpace," but it became apparent that Saban would only OK his participation if he were allowed to impose a gag order on anyone typing anything at all pertaining to Alabama football. Also, it would be kind of hard to contribute anything to say positive or negative if the number of characters you'd be allowed to type would be zero.


4. Bobby Cox

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
7.9 7.8 15.7

Credentials: Atlanta bravely battled through the weekend to grant the future Hall of Fame manager one last crack at playoff baseball. In the perfect world for Braves fans, he goes out with a World Series ring. The more realistic out for him and his legacy is that in the ninth inning of the game in which the Giants are set to eliminate his team, he gets ejected one last time. Think Abe Vigoda at the end of "The Godfather." "Can you give me the hook, ump? For old time's sake?" In this case, gladly.


5. Les Miles' Precision Timing

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
7.0 7.7 14.7

Credentials: In what other line of work could the LSU coach be considered so successful when he has so little grasp of crisis time management? If he were captain of the Titanic, he would have found a way for the unsinkable ship to be underwater before it left the harbor.


6. Yankees-Red Sox Rivalry

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
6.1 6.6 12.7

Credentials: Much to the chagrin of TV executives who live and die with these sqauds, only the Yankees qualified for the postseason. Ratings-wise, obviously the dream matchup is the Yankees vs. Red Sox in the ALCS. It's only a matter of time before TV execs demand of Major League Baseball that not only should every American League season end with New York and Boston battling for the pennant, but that they should immediately rematch each other for the World Series title. Yeah, that would screw with tradition (and the entire point of having a separate AL and NL), but we're talking TV ratings here.


7. Twins vs. Reds World Series

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
5.8 5.5 11.3

Credentials: Each year, there are complaints that first pitches for playoff baseball games start too late for East Coast fans to stay awake until the end. It will be an interesting test this year should Minnesota and Cincinnati square off to see if a national TV audience can stay awake past the third inning at any time of day for small-market mighty-mights.


8. Facebook Movie as Time Capsule

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
5.2 5.6 10.8

Credentials: Having Justin Timberlake in "The Social Network" has been a hit for critics and audiences, and has been intriguing study of the biggest social phenomenon of our decade. But who wants to make a bet that we'll wait to pay off when we're in the old folks home: Will our grandkids be more likely to have ever heard of Justin Timberlake or Facebook? Or just the concept of going to the movies at all anymore?


9. Jimmie Johnson

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
5.3 5.4 10.7

Credentials: There are six races left in the Chase for the Cup, and the defending four-time champ is again front dog in the pack. But what does he do that always gives him such an edge? Car inspectors, obviously week in and week out you're looking closely at what's under the hood. But check out the No. 48 car's cockpit next time, while you're at it. Make sure his gear shift doesn't include markings like "Park, Reverse, Neutral, Drive, Win Five NASCAR Championships in a Row."


10. Jetpacks R Us

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
4.7 5.5 10.2

Credentials: OK, settle down. Yes, the buzz is that Martin Aircraft is close to giving us a commercially viable working jetpack for the common self-propelled flight enthusiast. The idea of jetpacks for everyone won't officially arrive as far as we're concerned until we have word that there is an annual Jetpack Racing Festival somewhere in the middle of Georgia that doesn't get cell phone service. We just hope that doesn't mean the end of lawnmower racing leagues. Well, maybe those will be demoted from main event to undercard.


11. Miami Heat Hype

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
4.8 4.7 9.5

Credentials: We're not saying that the league and the media are giving LeBron and Dwyane undue coverage. However, expect a breaking news alert before the regular season starts that the NBA will be undergoing an immediate Eastern Conference realignment. Beginning immediately, Charlotte, Orlando, Atlanta and Washington will be reassigned to teams in the Atlantic and Central Divisions. That leaves Miami all alone in the Southeast Division, which will be renamed The Heat Division. League writers have already voted the Miami Heat as this season's favorite to win the division's inaugural crown. Stay tuned to find out!


12. World Superhero Record

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
4.6 4.3 8.9

Credentials: Riddle me this, Batman. Where was the Guinness Book of Records mark for largest gathering of superheros set? That would be when 1,580 people showed up in downtown L.A. with more spandex than you can shake an Asgardian hammer at. While there was no shortage of enthusiasm when it came to finding joiners, it did take an extraordinary amount of time for everyone to be counted. After all, there was only one phonebooth in the area available for everyone to change into their costumes.


13. 0-4 NFL Teams

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
2.1 2.4 4.5

Credentials: Sorry to break this to you, Buffalo, Carolina, Detroit and San Francisco, but it's getting harder and harder to root for you. Not because of your unwatchable style of play. It's just that those of us still alive in eliminator leagues know that there's going to be "gimmie" games in which we pick against you, but you'll find a way to bust into the W column. If we wanted to root for an underdog, we'd rent "Rudy." In your case -- stay winless, my frenemies.


Also receiving votes
• USC vs. USC: The Supreme Court will refuse to hear a University of South Carolina appeal about a lawsuit that wrestles with Southern California over the rights to an "SC" logo when it comes to baseball apparel. Actually, the landmark USC case we're waiting for a few years from now is "Lane Kiffin vs. USC Alumni Who Burned Mattresses Chasing Him Out of Town."

Never receiving votes
• 100-loss seasons: The Pirates edged the Mariners in the race to the basement: 105 losses vs. a mere 101. But look out, fellas. Next year, a Stephen Strasburg-less Nationals team vows to give you a run for your (pathetically earned) money.

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.