This is a relatively minor item as things go, but I thought it would be an unusual way to start off this week's local college football preview post.
The Heisman Trophy Trust is in town today to present the Penn athletic department with one of the eponymous pieces of hardware. It is in honor of the dedication of the school's new fitness facility that has been built under the north side arches at Franklin Field.
That the facility is being dedicated this weekend is due primarily to it being Homecoming weekend at Penn, but it's of no small consequence that the Quakers are playing Brown in particular today. John Heisman played for both Brown and Penn during his college career. He was with the Bears from 1887 to 1889, and the Quakers from 1890 to 1891. He later coached at Penn from 1920-1922.
As far as I can tell, Penn gets to keep the trophy. It's not like the Stanley Cup or other silverware that gets rented by each year's winner. Here's hoping that the school displays the trophy in a place that is at least somewhat accessible to the public, so that fans who wouldn't otherwise get near a Heisman trophy can see it in person.
And before you ask, I don't know if the particular trophy that Penn will receive is the former property of Reggie Bush. But you're welcome to crack whatever jokes you'd like to about that potentially being the case.
So let's turn to today's gridiron action. All four local teams are at home, and they all have very big games. At the I-A level, Temple can tie Ohio at the top of the MAC East Division at 4-1, and Penn State has a nationally televised prime-time showdown against Michigan.
At the I-AA level, Richmond visits Villanova in a battle of teams ranked in the top 15 nationally, while Brown and Penn are the only two Ivy League teams remaining with perfect records in conference play. The winner will have the inside track to this season's Ancient Eight title.
You can hear more about today's Villanova and Penn games in the audio player below, which has the tracks from this week's local college football coaches luncheon. Wildcats coach Andy Talley and Quakers coach Al Bagnoli both spoke, as did Penn running back and kickoff/punt returner Bradford Blackmon.
You'll notice in Bagnoli's remarks that there is a reference to a bobblehead figurine of Dan "Coach Lake" Staffieri, the longtime assistant to the program and team spirit leader who passed away back in April. As of now, the bobbleheads are not available to the public because there is only a limited quantity, but Penn might make more of them in the future if there's demand.
Local Sagarin rankings
Each team's ranking progression through the season is listed from left to right.
54. Penn State (62-66-32-22-22-27-24-10)
57. Temple (70-65-56-50-46-60-59-99)
59. Delaware (56-35-48-66-92-65-106-112)
64. Villanova (79-95-77-72-69-71-104-64)
88. Rutgers (82-107-86-67-53-57-39-60)
140. Penn (163-199-140-131-131-128-130-135)
162. Lehigh (168-197-168-162-168-143-146)
229. Lafayette (232-236-207-198-204-220-141-156)
233. Princeton (233-234-201-181-208-187-189-187)
241. Delaware State (241-241-230-227-221-222-220-204)
247. Bucknell (240-244-237-238-235-235-230-213)
Delaware remains the highest-ranked I-AA team in Sagarin, with Stephen F. Austin second at No. 62 and Villanova third. Maryland and Cincinnati are the teams ranked directly below the Blue Hens. Georgia Tech, Northwestern and Vanderbilt are ranked below all three. Hooray for the smart kids.
Sagarin predictions for selected games
I-A rankings are by the BCS standings, I-AA rankings are by The Sports Network. All games are Saturday unless otherwise noted. The current Sagarin home-field advantage factor is 2.95 points.
Akron at Temple (1:00 p.m., WHAT 1340-AM): Temple by 36 (71.91 + 2.95 to 39.02)
Michigan at Penn State 8:00 p.m., ESPN/WNTP 990-AM): Michigan by 1 (76.49 to 75.82 + 2.95)
No. 14 Richmond at No. 5 Villanova (12:00 p.m., Comcast Network/WPEN 950-AM): Villanova by 16 (70.60 + 2.95 to 57.11)
Brown at No. 21 Penn (1:30 p.m., WNTP 990-AM): Penn by 13 (56.44 + 2.95 to 46.25)
No. 5 Michigan State at No. 18 Iowa (3:30 p.m., ABC): Iowa by 1 (85.01 + 2.95 to 86.74)
No. 6 Missouri at No. 14 Nebraska (3:30 p.m., ESPN): Missouri by 2 (92.39 to 87.42 + 2.95)
No. 1 Auburn at Mississippi (6:00 p.m., ESPN): Auburn by 16 (88.96 to 69.45 + 2.95)
No. 2 Oregon at Southern California (8:00 p.m., ABC): Oregon by 6 (92.59 to 83.46 + 2.95)
Akron, with an 0-8 record, is the lowest-ranked I-A team in Sagarin at No. 216. The Zips have lost at home to Syracuse, Gardner-Webb, Northern Illinois and Western Michigan, and on the road to Kentucky, Indiana, Kent State and Ohio. Akron has given up at least 28 points in every game, more than 35 points six times and more than 50 points twice. The only game that Akron lost by one possession was against Gardner-Webb, a 38-37 defeat in overtime.
The next-lowest-ranked I-A team is No. 197 New Mexico, which is 0-7. In other words, it's a long way down.
At the other end of the rankings, the top five teams this week are Oregon, Missouri, TCU, Oklahoma and Boise Stae. Auburn is No. 6, while 7-1 Ohio State is ranked higher (No. 7) than undefeated Michigan State (No. 13). The two teams do not meet this season, which is the biggest reason why the Spartans have a very good chance of winning the Big Ten if they can survive the trip to Iowa today.