Obama tops Jesus in new poll. Reagan 4th, God 11th.

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    Barack Obama (left) tops Jesus (not pictured) in a new Harris Interactive poll which asked respondents who they admired enough to be their "top hero." Following Obama and Jesus were Martin Luther King, Jr. (3), Abraham Lincoln (4), and George W. Bush (5).
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America's Top Heroes. It may sound like a new reality show like "Top Chef" or "The Biggest Loser" or "Whose Husband is the Most Deranged?"

But, in fact, it's a new poll. Proving that the polling industry must be immune to any economic downturn, the guys at Harris Interactive asked 2,600 adults last month who was worthy enough to be called their heroes.

This was a serious study. The pollsters asked the question, "Who do you admire enough to call a hero?" They then took the unprompted, spontaneous answers and compiled the results. And then got paid.

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Coming in at number one...

President Barack Obama topped the charts followed by Jesus. Unfortunately, we don't know how close the competition was. There isn't an accounting of votes like there is in collegiate sports. Was Jesus a close number two? Or was it Obama in a landslide? We don't know.

Rounding out the top ten is Martin Luther King, Jr., Ronald Reagan, George W. Bush, Abraham Lincoln, John McCain, John F. Kennedy, U.S. Airways pilot Chesley Sullenberger, and Mother Teresa.

The also-rans

Other notables include God (11), Hillary Clinton (12), Gandhi (15), and Sarah Palin (21).

If you compare the list to the last study (conducted in 2001), you see a number of heroes who are no longer ranked including Dwight Eisenhower (17), Pope John Paul (18), and Nelson Mandela (21).

BCS Championship Series

Much like college football, there is no playoff system. It's all up to the writers (or in this case the respondents).

Let's say the top six were eligible for a final BCS-type bowl championship series. The matchups would be (without a spread):

All-State Sugar Bowl

George W. Bush (5) VS. Abraham Lincoln (6)

Tostitos Fiesta Bowl

Martin Luther King, Jr. (3) VS. Ronald Reagan (4)

FedEx BCS National Championship

Barack Obama (1) VS. Jesus (2)

But since there is no playoff system and not even a bowl series, the voters (respondents) get the final word.

What about Sullenberger?

You could say US Airways pilot Chesley Sullenberger is the Utah of this contest. Although he came in at number nine, he had a perfect season (much like the Runnin' Utes). Is there anyone who arguably had a stronger year?

John McCain (7), had a big loss in November, albeit to the national champ. You could say of Ronald Reagan (4), you put together some powerhouse teams in the 80s (like Miami) but what have you done for me lately? Abraham Lincoln (6)? There's a new guy from Illinois now.

Even Obama stumbled during the campaign at times. Remember the "lipstick on a pig" remark?

Sullenberger, on the other hand, went 155-0.

Next year, much like college football, we need a playoff system in ranking our heroes.

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