Commentary

Power Rankings: Losing edition

Originally Published: March 14, 2011
By Greg Hardy | Special to Page 2

Pencil in a bracket victory lap 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 is an Ohio State fan that spent the weekend trying to trade unlimited Wi-Fi access to any interested tattoo parlor that can dole out some in-kind celebratory Buckeyes ink once they win the NCAA tournament. We'd tell Jim Tressel all about it, but he seems like a busy guy. To the results!

1. That losing feeling

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
9.4 9.6 19.0

Credentials: In what other sport could 14 losses turn into One Shining Moment? Try NCAA March Madness, where the L's have piled up with 14 apiece for 9-seed Tennessee, 10-seeds Penn State and Michigan State, and 11-seed Marquette. And don't forget the "First Four" depths of 14-loss Southern California, 16-loss Arkansas-Little Rock and 17-loss Alabama State. Do any of these teams deserve to be in the field? If you ask us, they all do. Because who better to understand the urgency of a single-elimination tournament than a team that has already experienced losing 14 times!


2. NFL talks

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
9.5 9.1 18.6

Credentials: Did you know that, in these secret mediation hearings, the opposing sides can throw red challenge flags just like the coaches do during a game when they want an instant replay review? Except in this case, the players' reps had only three flags, which could be used only to review whether the owners' contract language offers made the right use of "their," "there" and "they're." Meanwhile, the owners' unlimited challenge flags were weighted with actual money that belonged to the players. And the owners pocketed those flags.


3. College seniors

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
8.8 8.4 17.2

Credentials: Freshman sensations might come and go, but put your money on those teams with rosters stocked with senior leadership. Their graduation present will be a deep run into the field. They've dedicated four entire years of their lives to learning their coach's system, so pay attention to how those smarts can pay off. And try to ignore the fact that they've spent about as much time in actual college classrooms as the 17-year-olds who deliver pizza to their dorms.


4. NCAA opening acts

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
7.7 7.4 15.1

Credentials: If you wanted to know what the exact opposite of "Bringing my talents to South Beach" is in basketball terms, try "Bringing my talents to Dayton, Ohio, on a Tuesday night on two days' notice." And in honor of entrants UNC-Asheville, Arkansas-Little Rock, Alabama-Birmingham and Texas-San Antonio, maybe these play-in-looking dates should forever be known as "Fun with hyphens."


5. Kevin Love

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
7.1 7.6 14.7

Credentials: The good news: He had an amazing double-double streak of 53 games, averaging 21.8 points per game and 16.3 rebounds in that span. The bad news: The Timberwolves were 13-40 in the win-loss column in that span. Kevin, because all of this information is so mind-boggling, you might as well freak us out the rest of the way by recording a stat line of 13-40 a night to honor your excellence vs. your team's futility.


6. UFC-Strikeforce

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
6.2 6.5 12.7

Credentials: Zuffa, the company that owns the Ultimate Fighting Championship, bought the rival MMA operations into the fold. But they'll continue to be run as separate units, it's been promised. Insiders say the real sign that a major overhaul is in the works to reinvent MMA is if Zuffa buys a stake in a metal folding chair conglomerate. Of course, no one ever knows someone's conspiring with a metal folding chair behind your back until it's too late. That's the point.


7. Feel-good Woods

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
5.4 5.3 10.7

Credentials: Yeah, he finished Doral by going 70-74-70-66 and trailed the winner by 8 strokes. But it's that 66 at the end that has Tiger beaming that he's on the right track for a return to Augusta glory. We're still betting that the CBS microphones will pick up the few remaining curse words he has yet to blurt out on live TV, but hey, the more competitive he thinks he'll be, the more colorful the language in the long haul.


8. SXSW

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
5.2 5.0 10.2

Credentials: Every year, we keep forgetting to go to Austin for the South by Southwest festival because we can't remember what bracket it's in. Not that anyone who went would ever be uncool enough to admit to filling one out. Unless it was sponsored by an energy drink. If this entry is too alternative for you to make sense of it, that's your loss.


9. MLS

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
5.0 4.2 9.2

Credentials: A new season is kicking off, so don't miss the L.A. Galaxy at the Seattle Sounders on Tuesday night. This also kicks off a season-long initiative by MLS officials to force every team that visits soccer-mad Seattle to permanently relocate to Seattle. The plan has an excellent chance to increase fan interest there, because, hey, what else are you going to do in Seattle during soccer season? Why, WATCH MORE SOCCER.


10. Women's NCAA

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
4.2 4.1 8.3

Credentials: Call us crazy, but we're going with UConn to win it all. Isn't it funny how in the men's bracket we're giving Duke a 1 percent chance to repeat as champs, but in the women's bracket we're giving the Huskies a 99 percent chance to three-peat.


11. "Battle: Los Angeles"

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
4.0 3.3 7.3

Credentials: The "Let's watch aliens attack L.A. and hope they show Kobe's house get blowed-up!" flick earned $36 million this weekend, but don't expect a movie that could hold up to any basis in reality. C'mon, we're expected to believe superintelligent beings would travel billions of miles and care anything about capturing a city that doesn't even have an NFL team? A movie title like "Battle: Cleveland" might not have quite the same ring to it, but at least Browns season-ticket holders could look forward to seeing their stadium get put out of its misery.


12. The N.I.T.

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
3.1 2.4 5.5

Credentials: No offense to No. 1 seeds Alabama, Colorado, Boston College and Virginia Tech, but maybe America's favorite backup bracket could increase TV viewership if it postponed the 32-team tourney until Sundays in the fall when there's no NFL football to watch.


Also receiving votes
• Daylight saving time: The good news: Despite the inconvenience of losing an hour's sleep this weekend, at least we start to get more sunshine later in the day through the summer. The bad news: The latest brainstorm this past weekend to save the "Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark" Broadway musical is to have Spidey fight a bad guy called "Daylight Wasting Time." You don't wanna know what ideas they've turned down for that kooky play.

Never receiving votes
• Colorado basketball fail. Why are hoops fans in the Rockies so surprised they didn't get picked for a better postseason berth? You'd think they'd have seen this coming once Carmelo Anthony got shipped to New York. Hello? Doesn't anyone in Denver follow basketball?

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.