Power Rankings: Future Tebow Edition
Welcome to our countdown for the start of an "ESPN Tebow" channel at ESPN.com's 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 trying to calculate places where the "Elf on the Shelf" could still successfully be hidden in its household. Right now, it's narrowed down to behind the autographed publicity still of Arnold Schwarzenegger from Jingle All The Way or inside the eight-month old jar of mayonnaise in the back of the fridge. To the results!
1. Tebow of the future Human PollComputer PollPower PointsTrending10.09.919.9
Credentials: No, we're not going to use our crystal ball to foresee a far-flung future of Timmy as a three-time Super Bowl MVP, Hall of Fame inductee or U.S. presidential nominee for the third-party Intangible Party ticket. We're just going to focus on 2012. You know, where Tebow is the acknowledged Broncos starting QB from the start of training camp; he's signed to a multi-year extension that includes bonuses tied to how many extra viewers tune in from his seven overtime games a year; and his spokesman position for a Denver-based car dealership where green vehicles are fueled by the energy produced by how much cuter puppies seem when photographed alongside him. And at the NFL Draft, John Elway signals he's fully behind his franchise QB by showing up at the podium for every Broncos pick wearing an orange and blue No. 15 Jesus jersey, a "Tebow Time" cap, an "In Timmy We Trust" neck tattoo and reads off every selection with, "With the [appropriate number] pick, the Denver Broncos select [appropriate player], who, like all of us, is Tim Tebow's latest and greatest BFF." Does that sound so hard, Mr. Elway? If there's anything bigger than Tebow's intangibles, it's his inevitables.
2. NBA trades Human PollComputer PollPower PointsTrending9.59.018.5
Credentials: Look at the bright side, Chris Paul. Even if you can't live in L.A. and won't be able to star in an L.A.-based reality show, the L.A.-based reality show idea has been done so often that a "How can I survive NOT living in L.A.?"-themed reality show will stand out in its own right. And how desperate is Dwight Howard to leave Orlando? We don't have the backbone to propose posting "It's time to picture Dwight Howard in a Charlotte Bobcats jersey!" rumors, but that might have something to do with the fact we don't know what a Charlotte Bobcats jersey looks like.
3. Potty-mouthed Brady Human PollComputer PollPower PointsTrending18.104.22.168
Credentials: Did you see the pixelated verbiage emanating from Tom Brady's lips during his sideline spat with his offensive coordinator? It's a sad day when the straight-arrowed Patriots quarterback is caught spewing language that's fouler than his coach's sweatshirt.
4. Ryan Braun Human PollComputer PollPower PointsTrending22.214.171.124
Credentials: Let's say the National League MVP's potential 50-game suspension is shot down. That'd be great for baseball, and we could go back to our illusion that post-steroid era baseball is as innocent as a Milwaukee Brewers sausage race. But what can the left fielder do during a 50-game suspension that could clean his image? Maybe he can start a satellite radio show where he talks with disgraced steroid-era users and gets them to tell kids how to stay clean. Oh, wait, those goons never want to say anything to clear their side of the story. So either Jose Canseco is the guest every day, or … that's a lot of dead air. Back to the drawing board.
5. Cincy vs. Xavier Human PollComputer PollPower PointsTrending7.17.414.5
Credentials: It's one thing for a heated cross-town rivalry to devolve into fisticuffs. It's another thing for the sound bite from your brawl to be "We've got a whole bunch of gangsters in the locker room." Gangsters? Please. We assume Tu Holloway just meant someone had a Blu-ray boxset of "The Godfather" trilogy sitting around as an early Christmas present.
6. Mikhail Prokhorov Human PollComputer PollPower PointsTrending6.26.312.5
Credentials: Did you hear the one about the billionaire owner of the New Jersey Nets who decided he'd get in the running to be elected president of Russia? Boy, it's one thing in the NBA to have enough power to stop a trade of Chris Paul moving to Los Angeles. It's a whole other game of H-O-R-S-E to have the power to stop a trade of nuclear warheads with Los Angeles.
7. Houston Texans Human PollComputer PollPower PointsTrending126.96.36.199
Credentials: It only took since 2002, but finally the team has sealed its first playoff bid. Which means its time to start thinking about what type of playoff failure legacy it wants. Obviously, it'd take too long to match the Buffalo Bills gold standard. Neighborly Dallas already has wrapped up its legacy of only winning one game since 1997. It takes an over-abundance of preseason smack talk to set yourself up for Rex Ryan-like conference title game humiliation. We guess T.J. Yates will just have to play it by ear and see if "T.J. Yates" can become synonymous with anything wacky. We mean, beyond, "They're gong to the playoffs with T.J. Yates as the starter?"
8. Elite Eli Human PollComputer PollPower PointsTrending5.24.810.0
Credentials: As we admired watching Little Brother Manning pick apart the Cowboys, it sadly dawned on us that if Big Brother Manning's career is over, then we are back to an era where only one Manning can hold the title of NFL passing excellence. Which leads us to think: What is the unforeseen trip-up that could end the Eli Era? Here's what we don't want to contemplate: Eli thinking he needs to outdo Peyton by engineering a trade to the Colts, intentionally screwing up his neck, then trying to out-rehab his brother to get back on the field. There's setting goals for yourself and then there's just tempting fate for no good reason.
9. RG3 Human PollComputer PollPower PointsTrending188.8.131.52
Credentials: Hats off to quarterback Robert Griffin III for being the first Baylor player to win the Heisman Trophy. But what knocked our socks off was when he showed off his Superman socks. Nice touch, but if you're going to make it in the pros, you're going to have to learn that you'll make more money modeling your own RG3-branded socks than in paying a licensing fee for someone else's logos. But now we're wondering: Are Heisman winners issued socks with the trophy's silhouette on it? Someone check Tim Tebow's ankles next time he's Tebowing.
10. DeMarco Murray Human PollComputer PollPower PointsTrending5.04.29.2
Credentials: Bad news for the Cowboys' playoff hopes. Their fantastic rookie running back suffered a fractured ankle and is done for the year. Meanwhile, a running back cloning machine, which would have cost half as much as the Cowboys Stadium video board, would right now be paying twice the dividends. But no, Jerry Jones could never be swayed from his belief that a Texas-sized TV would be a wiser investment than futuristic technology that would have kept his backfield healthy. Have fun watching the playoffs instead of playing in them with your clone army.
11. "New Year's Eve" Human PollComputer PollPower PointsTrending4.24.08.2
Credentials: Everyone at one time or another threw a New Year's party but nobody showed up. But analysts can't figure out why this all-star romantic comedy with Robert De Niro, Ashton Kutcher and Halle Berry only brought it $13.7 million when it was projected to haul in $22 million. Maybe it was because audiences were confused that the movie was only shown at the stroke of midnight. Thus, couples stayed home and watched their DVD copy of the all-star romantic comedy "Valentine's Day" before going out — but fell asleep halfway through. So let's hope Hollywood pulls the plug on this trend of all-star romantic comedies surrounding a holiday before they resort to "Arbor Day" co-starring the walking trees from "Lord of the Rings."
12. Luke Donald Human PollComputer PollPower PointsTrending4.03.27.2
Credentials: The suspense is over. By winning the Dubai World Championship, Donald made history by being the first golfer to win the PGA Tour and European Tour money titles at the same time. But is it really "golf history" to do something that wasn't possible before airplanes were invented? Maybe there was a guy in Scotland in 1674 who had the haggis to get that done. But how on earth would he have gotten tee times in the New World and Musselburgh Links in back-to-back weeks?
13. Last-minute shopping Human PollComputer PollPower PointsTrending184.108.40.206
Credentials: Note to anyone and everyone scrambling for the perfect gift: You wouldn't be in this mess if you've had the foresight to buy everyone on your list $250 shares of Green Bay Packers stock. Note to anyone looking for a substitute gift for shares of Green Bay Packers stock: Those $100 bills with Brett Favre's face on it aren't worth $100.
Also receiving votes• Division III playoffs: Rematch? You want a football championship rematch? How about 14-0 Mount Union meeting 14-0 Wisconsin-Whitewater in the D-III title game — for the seventh year in a row. With that series tied at three wins each, the Warhawks are the two-time defending champs on a 44-game winning streak. But we're going with the Purple Raiders to snap the streak. Call it a hunch that Les Miles' Gold and Purple good vibes can create mayhem in all corners of college football.
Never receiving votes• Todd Haley: The Kansas City Chiefs jettisoned their coach after a 19-27 tenure. But that record might be a bit of an inflated sketch of Haley's success. After all, if he didn't have the destined-for-0-and-16 Indianapolis Colts on the schedule in October, Haley might only be 18-28. Although we can imagine the Chiefs' front office adding insult to Haley's career injury by sending an apology letter to the Colts' front office: "Sorry we couldn't do our part to make you 1-15 this year. Please keep us in your thoughts a season or two from now when we're staring down the barrel of 0-16!"
Greg Hardy is a Page 2 contributor. It's all pop culture all the time at Twitter.com/HardyVision.