Friday, November 28, 2014
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How Temple made the AP football poll

I spent a few minutes chatting on the phone with Cedar Rapids Gazette writer Mike Hlas, the AP college football poll voter who put Temple at No. 25 on his ballot.

How Temple made the AP football poll

I had originally planned to put this post together before the Temple-Miami game, but I had too much other stuff to do.

So this comes to you after Temple just barely survived the RedHawks by a 34-32 margin. When Miami took the lead with 2:36 to play, it looked like this whole thing would be moot.

But the Owls came back down the field and got a game-winning field goal, so you can read this post (and I can write it) with a clearer conscience.

On Wednesday night, just a few minutes before Game 6 of the World Series started, I spent a few minutes chatting on the phone with Cedar Rapids Gazette writer Mike Hlas. He's the AP college football poll voter who put Temple at No. 25 on his ballot. You can read his blog, The Hlog, here.

I had no idea what to expect coming in, except that I was only looking for a few quotes. I ended up getting much more than that, so I'm going to give you everything I have.

I asked Hlas about why he voted for the Owls and what kind of attention the MAC gets in Iowa. And since he covers the Hawkeyes every week, I couldn't help asking whether he thinks they'll go all the way to the BCS title game. It's good stuff.

Q. Why did you put the Owls on your ballot?

A. For one thing, it's been getting harder and harder to find teams after the top 15 that I think are deserving. There's a lot of 5-3's and 6-2's.

...

I know Temple's not a top 25 team. But I look at it as 25th place is one point -  it's not going to change anything. If I'm having a hard time finding 25 teams I like, why not give a vote to somebody who's on a roll and doing nice things, and get their name in others receiving votes?

...

A six-game winning streak is nice and Navy's a good team. I think [Temple] is one of the nicer stories in college football this year and who knows how long it's going to last. I kind of enjoyed putting their name out there.

Q. What kind of attention does MAC football get in Iowa?

A. There's none in Iowa. There's one [team] in Illinois and the concentration in Indiana and Ohio. But the Big Ten has a relationship with the MAC - I think every Big Ten school plays at least one MAC team a year. Iowa has been playing MAC teams for a long time, though not this year.

...

There's a respect for MAC football here because Western Michigan came into Iowa City in 2007 and beat Iowa, and kept them from going to a bowl game that year with a really nice team. And nobody's really hidden anymore when they're having ggames on espn every night of the week.

The MAC always has been and will be a lower-level FBS conference, but it certainly has two or three really nice teams every year. I would include Central Michigan in that group, which beat Michigan State - that carries a lot of water. And so it's respected, but it's not held in high esteem.

Q. What do you make of Iowa? Are they really that good?

A. They've got a lot of - I wouldn't say critics, but doubters, and understandably. They've done such a high-wire act in so many games. But if you look at the schedule and you compare it to just about anybody, I think they've been rated the seventh hardest schedule in the country.*

And the places where they've won: at Penn State - nobody else has laid a glove on at Penn State this year. They've won at Wisconsin, which I think has a really good team. And they won at Michigan State, which they'd never done under [Kirk] Ferentz.

They haven't had any let-ups in the schedule since six weeks ago. When you play that kind of competition week after week, I think it lends itself to some jams you're going to have to get out of. Jams that maybe a Boise State or a Cincinnati has been able to avoid this year with their schedules.

Q. Do you think there is any chance that if Iowa runs the table, they could get beaten to a spot in the BCS title game by a one-loss runner-up in the SEC title game?


A. It depends on the team. I could see it, but the thing is that Iowa's strength of schedule is so high - I think they're second overall in the computer rankings that the BCS uses.* Their strength of schedule is going to be so good if they win out that I wonder, if they were to go 12-0, if an SEC champion has one loss, if Iowa wouldn't slip above it.

* - Hlas is correct that Iowa is ranked No. 2 in the computer rankings composite, but I can't find any data to back up his strength of schedule claim. Having said that, Iowa's schedule is No. 2 in Jeff Anderson and Chris Hester's computer rankings, which are used in the BCS formula.


Temple was also the subject of a lengthy discussion between Ivan Maisel and Beano Cook on Wednesday's ESPN.com college football podcast. You can listen to it here.

Let's close the week with a Spectacle of the Week poll and a Top 10 Chart. There are quite a few good games this weekend, and we'll put Villanova at Richmond in the mix with the I-A slate.

I think my vote is for Alabama-LSU, but I have a hunch that many of you will vote for Ohio State-Penn State.

As for the chart, check out the Sagarin ratings. I'm fascinated by Oregon's jump over Alabama into the No. 2 spot, as well as TCU's move up to No. 5. Think about the teams that are in Sagarin's Top 10 that are not in the others.

I'm not covering any games this weekend, so my next blog post will probably be on Monday. Believe it or not, college basketball season starts a week from today, when Drexel visits St. Joe's to christen Hagan Arena.

Are any of us ready?

More coverage
 
Kern: Bowl game on line for Temple
 
Penn State bowl possibilites
 
Buy college apparel and college gear
 
Latest college sports videos
What's the Spectacle of the Week?
LSU at Alabama (3:30 p.m., CBS)
 
  32 (14.9%)
Ohio State at Penn State (3:30 p.m., ABC)
 
  132 (61.4%)
Villanova at Richmond (3:30 p.m., CSN)
 
  47 (21.9%)
Connecticut at Cincinnati (8:00 p.m., ABC)
 
  4 (1.9%)
Total votes = 215

Rank
AP
Coaches
Sagarin
Harris
BCS
1.
Florida
Florida
Florida
Florida
Florida
2.
Texas
Texas
Oregon
Texas
Texas
3.
Alabama
Alabama
Alabama
Alabama
Alabama
4.
Cincinnati
TCU
Texas
Boise State
Iowa
5.
Boise State
Boise State
TCU
Cincinnati
Cincinnati
6.
TCU
Iowa
Boise State
TCU
TCU
7.
Oregon
Cincinnati
Cincinnati
Iowa
Boise State
8.
Iowa
Oregon
Iowa
Oregon
Oregon
9.
LSU
LSU
USC
LSU
LSU
10.
Georgia Tech
Penn State
Georgia Tech
Penn State
Georgia Tech

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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