Tuesday, September 16, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

Crunchy Numbers

Penn State can't possibly lose to Michigan this year, can it?

Crunchy Numbers

I realize I've been neglecting this thing lately, but the Phillies' romp through the playoffs has been taking up a lot of my time. I'll be able to get back to focusing on college sports over the next couple of weeks, including live coverage of Big East Men's Basketball Media Day at Madison Square Garden a week from tomorrow.

I'll also be covering the Penn football team's next two games, at home against Columbia on Saturday and at Yale on Oct. 25. Hopefully I'll be able to open a chat room here on the blog during both contests and we can talk about whatever's on your mind sports-wise.

Looking back at this past weekend, I'm having a hard time deciding which was more unbelievable: Penn State's blowout win at Wisconsin or Delaware giving up 17 points in the final 12 minutes at home to Maine.

It probably has to be the Nittany Lions' win, in part because of the score and in part because of how badly Wisconsin needed to stay in the Big Ten title race.

Yet I can't help thinking that even though Delaware trailed at halftime, playing a fourth quarter like that at home against an unranked opponent is just stunning.

Maybe it was the whole game, though. The Blue Hens totaled only 14 rushing yards and committed five turnovers. And as the Wilmington News-Journal's Kevin Tresolini wrote Sunday, all of those turnovers "either prevented Delaware from possibly scoring, put Maine in position to score or led directly to Black Bear points."

As for this week, Penn State is once again in the national spotlight. It's been 12 years since the Nittany Lions last beat Michigan, and this year has to be the best chance in a long time to end that streak.

My Philly.com colleague Sheil Kapadia (of Moving the Chains fame) is a Penn State alum, and while most of his focus is on the NFL he pays close attention to his alma mater.

"I'm more confident than I've been in a decade, but I'm certainly not marking it down as a 'W,' " he told me.

But if the Wolverines can't beat Toledo at home, how on earth can they win in Beaver Stadium?

We'll find out Saturday at 4:30 p.m.

And now for the numbers...

3. Penn State (3)
Last week: Road win vs. No. 29/44 Wisconsin, 48-7
This week: 10/18 vs. No. 82 Michigan, 4:30 p.m., ESPN

81. Villanova (85)
Last week: Off
This week: 10/18 at No. 189 Rhode Island, 12:00 p.m.  

97. Rutgers (105)
Last week: Road loss vs. No. 37/42 Cincinnati, 13-10
This week: 10/18 vs. No. 35 Connecticut, 12:00 p.m., ESPNU

106. Temple (96)
Last week: Road loss vs. No. 81/75 Central Michigan, 24-14
This week: Off

(The Owls' next game is Tuesday, Oct. 21, at the Linc against Ohio, so it falls within next week's post.)

138. Delaware (118)
Last week: Home loss vs. No. 160/142 Maine, 27-10
This week: 10/18 vs. No. 116 William & Mary, 12:00 p.m.

162. Lafayette (171)
Last week: Road win vs. No. 216/220 Columbia, 13-3
This week: 10/18 at No. 122 Liberty, 3:30 p.m.

168. Penn (175)
Last week: Road win vs. No. 222/222 Georgetown, 27-7
This week: 10/18 vs. No. 220 Columbia, 1:00 p.m.

181. Lehigh (186)
Last week: Home win vs. No. 184/194 Fordham, 45-24
This week: 10/18 at No. 128 Harvard, 12:30 p.m.

201. Delaware State (212)
Last week: Road win vs. No. 185/196 Bethune-Cookman, 26-20
This week: 10/18 vs. No. 234 North Carolina A&T, 1:00 p.m.

On to the Top 10 chart, which continues to be tossed around like scrambled eggs in a frying pan. Penn State, Alabama and Texas have been the biggest beneficiaries so far, and they all have home games this week. Do you think any of them will be upset on Saturday?



Rank
AP
McLane
Coaches
Sagarin
Harris
1.
Texas
Alabama
Texas
Texas
Texas
2.
Alabama
Texas
Alabama
USC
Alabama
3.
Penn State
Penn State
Penn State
Penn State
Penn State
4.
Oklahoma
Oklahoma
USC
Alabama
Oklahoma
5.
Florida
Florida
Texas Tech
Oklahoma
USC
6.
USC
USC
Oklahoma
Florida
Florida
7.
Texas Tech
BYU
Florida
Georgia
Texas Tech
8.
Oklahoma St.
Texas Tech
BYU
Boise State
BYU
9.
BYU
Georgia
Georgia
Oklahoma St.
Georgia
10.
Georgia
LSU
Oklahoma St.
Ohio State
Oklahoma St.

Jonathan Tannenwald Philly.com
About this blog
Soft Pretzel Logic is Philly.com's college sports blog, with a primary focus on the University of Pennsylvania. You'll also see coverage of the Big 5, other major college sports events in the region, and the annual Penn Relays track and field meet.

Reach Jonathan at jtannenwald@phillynews.com or 215-854-2330.

Jonathan Tannenwald Philly.com
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