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The Unbearable Powerfulness Of Ranking (August 24, 2012 Edition)

Prior to last season, I did a power ranking of how the teams in the AFC South stacked up against other objects, both real and ephemeral. Allow me to lazily quote myself (while editing the dated reference therein) to explain:

If you are like me, by and large, you find most NFL Power Rankings to be a tremendous waste of time. For one thing, there is so much turnover year to year in the NFL that preseason rankings are only slightly less ridiculous than preseason college football rankings --- we simply don't know this far out who the best teams in the league are, so we we are left (at best) basing it on last year's results, with a couple wild guesses thrown in. Or, in the case of Paul Kuharsky, with some patently obvious biases thrown in. Whatever.

Secondly (and perhaps more importantly), most power rankings give no sense of context. I mean, is the difference between the #1 team and the #2 team the same as the gap from #2 to #3? Or is it like the Richter scale, where each place is an order of magnitude higher than the one below it? (Actually, that would make last year's #1 regular season team, the Packers, better than the #32 team, the Colts, by a factor of 10^31, which sounds about right.)

No, what we need is a Power Ranking that gives you a sense of how much difference there is between the teams as well as a frame of reference for how good each team is on its own.

We made the rankings a quarterly thing in 2011, updating them after four, eight, and twelve games. (I did not do one after the 16th game because, well, it was pretty obvious how the four teams ranked at that point. Also, I'm lazy. Never, ever forget that.)

Well, as should be obvious by the fact that I'm writing this post, we're bringing back the power rankings for 2012. Will the Texans start the season at #1? Will the Colts or Jaguars be ranked below a venereal disease? Jump to find out!


1. The Houston Texans. I have few rules in life, but one of them is this: when you win the AFC South and perform better than any previous Texans team has, you're starting the next season in the number 1 slot on these rankings.


2. Bulleit Bourbon. Look, there are a lot of great bourbons out there. But how many of them come in a bottle that lets you pretend to be Rooster Cogburn? (The John Wayne version, of course.)


3. Bacon Pancakes. This is just genius.


4. MS Paint Stu Scott, TDKR Edition. Thanks to SoCalTexan, Stu has embraced his evil side. (His mask also releases a steady stream of anesthetic gas, but does so outwardly, so that people forced to listen to Stu are numbed.)


5. Archer. "Are there any valid reasons for not loving this show, Barry?"

"No, there are not, Other Barry. No, there are not."


6. Sunday Ticket. Most of the time, I am no fan of DirecTV. Between the cost, the lousy signal when it rains, and other stuff, I kind of hate them. Yet, for four months per year, I forget how much they annoy me, and I revel in getting watch every Texans game (plus a buttload of other games). Sunday Ticket is glorious.


7. Google Image Searches for "Tony Romo gif". Because Cowboys Schadenfreude is the best Schadenfreude. ROMOHNO!


8. Community. Levar Burton was a maybe.


9. @SarcasticRover. The best thing on Twitter right now --- which, admittedly, is like being the least detestable player on the Cowboys --- is someone pretending to be the Curiosity Rover with a depressed emo bent.


10. The League. Having someone tell you about a fantasy football league that you're not in is dull, yet this show manages to be entertaining. That's like a paradox or something.


11. Raisins. They're not terrible, but they're certainly not something a normal person would look forward to eating. Even when they're in an oatmeal cookie, I find myself thinking, "This would probably be better without the raisins."


12. Coors Light. When I went on a tour of the Coors brewery in 2000, I was shocked to see the process for making The Silver Bullet. They literally had homeless people drink skunky Corona and pee in a trough. The pee was then watered down, chilled, and bottled. Honest.


13. The Tennessee Titans. True story: I planned to put them #12 on this list. Then they named Jake Locker the starter.

Possibly true story: Kenny Britt got arrested again in the time it took you to read this sentence.


14. Sitcoms With Laugh Tracks. I hate laugh tracks. They offend me. Either the people making the show know that it's not funny, but they are trying to convince you otherwise, or they think you're not smart enough to know when to laugh. Either way, F 'em.


15. The Indianapolis Colts. I'm still on record as saying that Andrew Luck will not be the star that so many expect him to be. That hasn't changed. This ranking is more due to how much better than the Jaguars I think the Colts are (and the fact that I think the Colts and Titans are not all that dissimilar).


16. Jacoby Jones' Attempted Punt Return Against Baltimore. Why he did that remains one of the great unanswered questions in Texans history, right there with "Why did Petey Faggins get so many snaps?" and "What is the proper karmic payback for fans who abandoned the Texans for the Titans because of Vince Young?"


17. Jerry Sandusky. Look at that face and think of the phrase "rhythmic slapping noises." Disturbing, ain't it?


18. Online Arguments About Politics. Your candidate/position is absolutely right. Anyone who disagrees with you is an idiot. Great, now that we've established the parameters for the debate, let's see if we can reach a measured and intelligent agreement!


19. Granuloma inguinale. Ulcerative lesions on your genitals. Rather than scar you with a picture, I just went with the picture of a basset hound puppy. You're welcome.


20. The Jacksonville Jaguars. Sure, I've heard all the stories about how Blaine Gabbert looks much better this preseason. Let's just say that I'm not buyin'. And then let's laugh at this Blaine Gabbert clip. And this one. And this one.