Commentary

Power Rankings: Dental damage

Originally Published: June 6, 2011
By Greg Hardy | Special to Page 2

It's time to sink your teeth into the ESPN.com 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 weekend running prediction models for what Winnipeg will name its newest version of an NHL franchise. So far, it's high-flying retro-moniker "Jets" running third behind the more forward-thinking "Jetpacks" and the always-practical-in-that-region "Snowplows." To the results!

1. Big mouth Burrows

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
9.4 9.6 19.0

Credentials: Bruins fans, we feel your pain. What has the NHL come to when Vancouver's Alex Burrows was given a free pass after it appeared he bit Patrice Bergeron in Game 1? This sort of thing never happened in the realm of Old Time Hockey. And we just don't mean the on-ice retribution, we mean that no one would have gotten bitten in the first place because hockey players didn't have many teeth left back then. Thus, welcome to a new era of NHL goonery, when coaches don't just look the other way when it comes to who contributes what on the roster, but now GMs pay very close attention to the dental plans afforded to enforcers.


2. Eye on the Heat

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
9.5 9.1 18.6

Credentials: Chris Bosh proved clutch by nailing a 16-footer that put Miami ahead for good in Game 3, despite getting gouged in the left eye in the first half. Which begs the question: Which is the body part of each of the Heat's Big Three that's most expendable in the quest for all those rings? History shows that for LeBron, the elbow is a huge part of the equation. Wade's knee has been key to him bowing out of previous playoff runs. Maybe eyesight is overrated among the NBA elite. But we can't have them intentionally poking themselves before tipoff just so they can be called The Three Blind Men. Because then they'd be confused with the referees.


3. Free Plaxico

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
8.8 8.4 17.2

Credentials: Now that the wide receiver is out of jail, it's time he gets up to speed on the important everyday decisions pro athletes have found themselves having to consider in the 20 months he's been away: Should the first matter of business he address be getting a popular Twitter account up and going? Or hiring a reality TV camera crew to follow him around? The important thing is that he'll be ahead of the pack when it comes to pioneering the Michael Vick post-prison image-rehabilitation tour. Watch and learn, athletes who are destined to do time in the near future. You know who you are.


4. College football payment plans

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
7.7 7.4 15.1

Credentials: Here's the biggest flaw we see in Steve Spurrier's dream to hand out $300 apiece to players per game: When will that leave time for the players to spend the $1,000-per-handshake payouts they get from boosters before and after each practice?


5. NASCAR fisticuffs

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
7.1 7.6 14.7

Credentials: Instant poll: If seeing team owner Richard Childress take a swing at obnoxious driver Kyle Busch doesn't do it for ya, what would? Jerry Jones putting Tony Romo in a headlock? Mark Cuban pile-driving Kobe? Frank McCourt giving A-Rod the Three Stooges double finger poke in the eyeballs? Or you tell us. The possibilities are endless.


6. Dallas layover

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
6.2 6.5 12.7

Credentials: The 2-3-2 format of the NBA Finals means a lot of down time for the next few days in the heart of Texas. Dirk, have you thought about maybe hosting a chili cook-off as a way to build team unity and civic togetherness? Of course, the fear is that you'd make the one good batch of chili, and the rest of the Mavericks would be sitting around wondering what peppers they should contribute.


7. "X-Men: First Class"

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
5.4 5.3 10.7

Credentials: Because evidently no Hollywood producer can green-light a superhero movie anymore unless the plot involves an "origin," we were treated to a Cold War-era showdown of mutants and commies that showed how the Cuban Missile Crisis really went down in 1962. Left on the cutting room floor was a subplot that Roger Maris used superpowers to swat 61 home runs in 1961, and hence the asterisk due to his being a mutant.


8. French Open

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
5.2 5.0 10.2

Credentials: Because we're marketing gurus at heart, here's our suggestion on how to salute Rafael Nadal's sixth title at Roland Garros. Ben & Jerry's should come out with a flavor, "Rafa's Clay Delight." It'd be a caramel and coffee thing, or whatever candy they can cram in there to make the color look like the Paris playing surface. If having a Ben & Jerry's flavor named after a majors champ can't entice Americans to become better at international tennis, nothing will.


9. Shaq retirement

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
5.1 4.4 9.5

Credentials: He's out of the NBA, but it's not like he's going to slow down in terms of his media exposure. Even if he's not tweeting away to his heart's content, there will be plenty of corporate suitors bidding for his charismatic services. Lonely? Bored? Ha, you try to imagine him sitting around his house all day in Florida with nothing to do but work on his free throw shooting. Actually, that would be the ultimate Shaq practical joke, wouldn't it? A pay-per-view special where he vows to sink 100 free throws in a row or you get your money back. Sign us up.


10. Baseball draft

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
5.0 4.2 9.2

Credentials: The Pittsburgh Pirates have the No. 1 pick in Monday night's draft, and it's predicted they'll take UCLA pitcher Gerrit Cole. If you just got here from 100 years in the future, you'll remember him as the guy who threw a no-hitter for the Yankees in Game 7 of the 2017 World Series.


11. Cubs criticism

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
4.2 4.1 8.3

Credentials: Carlos Zambrano had pointed words for his teammates Sunday after blowing a lead in St. Louis, saying "We are playing like a Triple-A team." That's not fair. If the Cubs were a Triple-A team, they'd have more clever-to-the-point-of-tacky gate promotions. You know, instead of counting on fans coming to Wrigley Field to witness a pennant chase. So let us know when tickets behind home plate go on sale for $19.08, OK?


12. "Rocky: The Musical"

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
4.0 3.3 7.3

Credentials: Because Sylvester Stallone and Broadway proved such a smash combination when he directed "Staying Alive," the 1983 sequel to "Saturday Night Fever," it's apparently time to go one more round. The New York Times reports that the Italian Stallion is going to be the focus of a musical that should be in fighting shape for the stage by 2013. This only sounds like a good idea if the break-of-dawn training sequences make use of the leftover flying harnesses from the "Spider-Man" show.


13. NBA coaching carousel

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
3.1 2.4 5.5

Credentials: Detroit fired John Kuester after two years at the helm, leaving the door wide open for former Pistons great and ex-New York Knicks icon Isiah Thomas to … OK, we can't even finish typing that sentence with a straight face.


Also receiving votes
• Big Ten title game: Talk about an inside job: The cold-weather conference has awarded the cozy confines of Indianapolis' Lucas Oil Stadium with the new Legends vs. Leaders college football showdown for the next five years. That means if Jim Tressel is working as a sideline reporter he can strip down to climate-controlled comfort in a TV network-approved sweater vest instead of bundling up in a bulky, cumbersome and non-figure-flattering parka. The board did shoot down the promotional idea of free tattoos for those who buy premium seating. That's just sending the wrong message. However, they admit they will have no control over those who trade Big Ten title game tickets for free tattoos.

Never receiving votes
• Vanishing fantasy football magazines: Most summers, this is the time of year when you'd start to thumb through the draft preview issues. But the lockout means that publishers are either pushing back or canceling this year's installments all together. If you're suffering from withdrawal, see if your local newsstand sells a farmer's almanac. Substitute all advice on how to cultivate various crops with the names of your favorite NFL stars, and watch your imagination grow.

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.