Friday, October 31, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

Football Crunchy Numbers

Penn State rules the region again, but is Ohio State about to get knocked off its throne?

Football Crunchy Numbers

Before I start this week's post, I just want to point out something important from today's Inquirer that has nothing at all to do with college sports. You might have seen by now that the sports section has a new columnist, John Gonzalez, who riffs on the region's sporting scene every day on page 2.

He (or at least someone over there) also picks daily highlights from the region's best sports blogs. Today, Gonzalez went a step farther by having Deadspin editor A.J. Daulerio fill in for him on a day off.

I must admit that despite having a ridiculous number of blogs in my RSS reader, I don't read Deadspin, mainly because I don't have enough time (and yes, that might be due to all those other blogs). But I'm an avid fan of his appearances on Dan Levy's On the DL Podcast, so I'd like to think I've had at least a reasonable amount of exposure to him.

One of the central themes on Levy's shows is whether or not "traditional" news organizations can survive in a world where the Internet rules journalism instead of newspapers, and at a time when many "mainstream" journalists distrust bloggers because they aren't copy-edited or written to someone else's standards of objectivity.

But it sure makes sense to me that newspapers should try to reach out to bloggers when they can instead of blowing them off. If guys like Daulerio (and yeah, he used to blog for Philadelphia magazine), Levy and Enrico Campitelli are willing to contribute content to the Inquirer that conforms to the paper's editorial guidelines, that makes the Inquirer a better product and gets the writers greater exposure for the rest of their work.

Of course, it should never come at the expense of the paper's full-time staff, and there's been plenty of reporting out there about what's going on at this company these days.

But I really want to believe that there's a way to incorporate the region's sports bloggers into our product without harming what we've already got, and that the way goes beyond just having a blogroll on Philly.com's sports page.

That's just my opinion, though. And if there's one thing I am sure of, it's that what I think doesn't count for much.

Now back to our regularly scheduled programming, starting with the latest Forde-Yard Dash and Awful Announcing's college football TV schedule for this week.

11.
Penn State (26)
Last week: Home win vs. No. 35/48 Oregon State, 45-14
This week: 9/13 at No. 119 Syracuse, 3:30 p.m., ABC

(Keep Syracuse's ranking in mind as you read the rest of this...)

56. Rutgers (34)
Last week: Off
This week: 9/11 vs. No. 74 North Carolina, 8:00 p.m., ESPN

(It might be better in football than it was in basketball last season. Or at least closer.)

103. Delaware (91)
Last week: Off
This week: 9/13 vs. NR West Chester, 6:00 p.m.

(I've been to this game before, and let there be no doubt that Delaware has at least 20,000 reasons to play the Golden Rams every year. It was Band Day when I went, but this year they've decided that crowd deserves to watch a Division I opponent instead.)

115. Villanova (95)
Last week: Off
This week: 9/13 vs. No. 144 Lehigh, 1:00 p.m.

(This is the first of three straight weeks with games between teams in the region, followed by Villanova at Penn next week and Penn at Lafayette on the 27th. They might not impact the rankings that much, but perhaps they can stir a little more interest among local football fans.)

122. Temple (118)
Last week: Home loss vs. No. 46/47 Connecticut, 12-9 (OT)
This week: 9/13 at No. 126 Buffalo, 12:00 p.m., WPHL-17

144. Lehigh (149)
Last week: Home win vs. No. 206/211 Drake,
This week:
9/13 at No. 115 Villanova, 1:00 p.m.

148. Penn (151)
Last week: Off
This week: Off

157. Lafayette (156)
Last week: Road win vs. No. 234/236 Marist, 28-6
This week: 9/13 vs. No. 225 Georgetown, 6:00 p.m.

(Correction to last week's post: I said the Marist game was at home, but it actually wasn't. Sorry, Leopards fans.)

188. Delaware State (188)
Last week: Home win vs. No. 205/209 Florida A&M, 35-28
This week:
9/13 at No. 138 Kent State, 2:00 p.m.

Now for the Top 10 comparison chart. I was on a conference call this afternoon with the broadcasters and analysts from CBS' college football broadcasts, and they had some interesting things to say about the nation's best teams.

As CBS broadcasts Southeastern Conference games, most of the conversation was about the SEC. And though the Big 12 got a lot of props for its quarterback depth, perhaps the most striking comment came from studio commentator Spencer Tillman about Ohio State.

"It won't take nearly as long [as it did last season] for Ohio State to be exposed" Tillman said. "I know that's a rather strong, maybe even terse comment, but I think Beanie Wells' injury will expose them. I think the fact that the Big Ten is down overall and the fact that they rely so heavily on Beanie, I think we won't have to wait."

I'm inclined to agree, although I'm not sure Ohio State is as bad as Tillman says. Todd Boeckman isn't in the same class as Tim Tebow and Mark Sanchez, but he's probably still the best under-center quarterback in the Big Ten and that goes a long way.

Then again, we're all well aware by now that winning the Big Ten doesn't mean a thing on New Year's Day.

The Buckeyes' problems were compounded by Saturday's far-from-convincing 26-14 home win over Ohio. With Wells sidelined, the Buckeyes trailed for much of the game before pulling away at the end. That only added more fuel to the fire.

Regardless of how Ohio State does in conference play, this week's trip to Los Angeles will rightly have a big impact on how people perceive the Buckeyes for the rest of the season.

The pollsters are well aware of all this, and the rumblings have already started. Last week, Ohio State was No. 2 on Jeff McLane's AP ballot, No. 3 in the AP and Coaches polls and No. 4 in Sagarin.

McLane, like many AP voters, is the type who doesn't move a team down for winning - though he didn't hesitate to knock West Virginia down to No. 25 after its blowout loss at East Carolina - and he kept the Buckeyes at No. 2 this week.

But in the full rankings, Ohio State fell noticeably across the board. Unless they pull off an upset or lose by a late score, it's hard to believe they'll still be in the Top 10 on Monday.

Finally, it's hard to miss the biggest mover of all this week: the Big C. Cal scored 66 points on Washington State in Pullman and skyrocketed up the Sagarin charts.

What's your top 10?


Rank
AP
McLane
Coaches
Sagarin
1.
USC
USC
USC
USC
2.
Georgia
Ohio State
Georgia
Florida
3.
Oklahoma
Florida
Oklahoma
LSU
4.
Florida
Oklahoma
Florida
Oklahoma
5.
Ohio State
Georgia
Ohio State
California
6.
Missouri
Missouri
Missouri
Auburn
7.
LSU
Auburn
LSU
Ohio State
8.
Texas
Arizona State
Texas
Texas
9.
Auburn
Texas Tech
Auburn
Oregon
10.
Wisconsin
LSU
Wisconsin
Georgia

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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