Saturday, January 31, 2015

Crunchy Numbers Week 11: More views on Temple football

I talked with two more AP poll voters about the Owls' season.

Crunchy Numbers Week 11: More views on Temple football

WASHINGTON - I have definitely noticed an increase in traffic on the blog on days when I've written about Temple football. Were I not going to be at Franklin Field this Saturday to cover Cornell-Penn for the Inquirer, I would be at the Linc for the Owls' last home game of the season against Kent State.

Temple athletic director Bill Bradshaw told me yesterday that he expects around 20,000 fans to be in attendance. I'll be interested to see what the final number is, because it's a pretty big deal for Bradshaw's program.

But since I won't be there, I'll make it up to you with two more interviews with AP football poll voters: Scott Wolf of the Los Angeles Daily News and Barker Davis of the Washington Times.

Wolf has the Owls ranked 20th in his latest ballot. He told me by email that he thinks "they deserve respect after winning eight straight games and for the fact they have come so far as a program. They also beat Navy, a team that almost beat Ohio State, and Notre Dame."

While Wolf said that "the MAC receives little or no coverage in Southern California," he added that he has no problem "ranking a MAC team with an 8-2 record."

Davis does not have the Owls on his ballot, but as he was at yesterday's Temple-Georgetown game (he also covers the Hoyas), I was able to get his view.

He showed me the raw form of the ballot he sent in, which included a "Next 5" with his Top 15. The Owls were fourth in that "Next 5."

Davis had plenty of praise for the Owls' success this season, noting that "they had never even been on my radar before." But his main reason for not ranking them is the loss to Villanova.

"The 'Nova loss is a bad one," he said, because the Wildcats are in I-AA. "A loss to 'Nova is equivalent to two [I-A] losses."

Davis is certainly aware of the Wildcats' success this season. But he noted that he would have also held Michigan accountable for their famous loss to Appalachian State a few years back.

Like Wolf, Davis also gave Temple full credit for the win over Navy, even though the Midshipmen's starting quarterback, Ricky Dobbs, wasn't playing. But beyond that, Davis asked, "who are Temple's other quality wins?"

It is worth noting that Temple has not played Central Michigan, the only team in the MAC ranked higher in Sagarin than the Owls. But if Temple beats Kent State, the two teams will meet in the MAC title game.

That brings us us to this week's Crunchy Numbers.

Since I missed today's coaches luncheon, all the divisions together in this roundup. Most of the Division II and Division III seasons are over at this point anyway, with the notable exception of Delaware Valley.


Division I

21. Penn State (19)
Last week: Home win vs. No. 91/91 Indiana, 31-20
This week: 11/21 at No. 45 Michigan State, 3:30 p.m. (ABC)
Sagarin predicts: Penn State by 3 (81.01 to 74.70 and 3.06)

34. Rutgers (53)
Last week: Home win vs. No. 22/38 South Florida, 31-0
This week: 11/21 at No. 95 Syracuse, 3:30 p.m. (ESPN360.com)
Sagarin predicts: Rutgers by 11 (78.06 to 64.35 and 3)

43. Villanova (46)
Last week: Road win vs. No. 195/193 Towson, 49-7
This week: 11/21 vs. No. 116 Delaware, 3:30 p.m. (Comcast Network)
Sagarin predicts: Villanova by 19 (76.60 and 3.06 to 60.41)

61. Temple (65)
Last week: Road win vs. No. 134/138 Akron, 56-17
This week: 12/21 vs. No. 108 Kent State, 1:00 p.m.
Sagarin predicts: Temple by 13 (71.94 and 3.06 to 61.83)

116. Delaware (116)
Last week: Road loss vs. No. 41/40 Navy, 35-18
This week: 11/21 at No. 43 Villanova, 3:30 p.m. (Comcast Network)
Sagarin predicts: Villanova by 19 (76.60 and 3.06 to 60.41)

122. Penn (137)
Last week: Road win vs. No. 157/150 Harvard, 17-7
This week: 11/21 vs. No. 220 Cornell, 1:00 p.m.
Sagarin predicts: Penn by 27 (59.19 and 3 to 35.53)

131. Lafayette (141)
Last week: Road loss vs. No. 150/135 Holy Cross, 28-26
This week: 11/21 at No. 198 Lehigh, 12:30 p.m. (ESPN360.com, RCN-4 or RCN-8, WPBPH-60, WFMZ-69)
Sagarin predicts: Lafayette by 13 (56.68 to 40.63 and 3.06)

It's the 145th meeting of the Leopards and the Mountain Hawks/Engineers, which I believe is a record of some kind.

198. Lehigh (214)
Last week: Road win vs. No. 199/196 Fordham, 35-28
This week: 11/21 vs. No. 131. Lafayette, 12:30 p.m. (ESPN360.com, RCN-4 or RCN-8, WBPH-60, WFMZ-69)
Sagarin predicts: Lafayette by 13 (56.68 to 40.63 and 3.06)

205. Delaware State (189)
Last week: Home loss vs. No. 169/174 Norfolk State, 21-16
This week: 11/21 vs. No. 238 Howard, 1:00 p.m.
Sagarin predicts: Delaware State by 15 (39.76 and 3 to 27.30)

219. Princeton (228)
Last week: Home win vs. No. 190/188 Yale, 24-17
This week: 11/21 at No. 203 Dartmouth, 12:30 p.m.
Sagarin predicts: Dartmouth by 8 (40.09 and 3 to 35.99)

230. Bucknell (237)
Last week: Road loss vs. No. 160/158 Colgate, 29-14
This week: 11/21 vs. No. 135 Holy Cross, 1:00 p.m.
Sagarin predicts: Holy Cross by 22 (56.18 to 31.46 and 3)

Divisions II and III

West Chester
Season over

Delaware Valley
Last week: Road win vs. Widener, 28-16
This week: 11/21 vs. Susquehanna, 12:00 p.m. (NCAA Division III playoffs first round)

The winner gets Albright or Alfred in the second round. Not sure where the game would be played, but that first-round game is at Alfred. Delaware Valley beat Albright to win the MAC's automatic playoff bid.

Rowan
Last week: Home win vs. The College of New Jersey, 39-0
This week: Season over

Sometimes, karma can be a good thing. Congrats to the Profs for winning without Mike Hoffman and their other injured starters.

Ursinus
Last week: Road win vs. Dickinson, 35-32
This week: Season over

Widener
Last week: Home loss vs. Delaware Valley, 28-16
This week: Season over

Lincoln
Season over

Cheyney
Season over

Jonathan Tannenwald Sports Producer
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.

Jonathan Tannenwald Sports Producer
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