Monday, September 22, 2014
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The Schuylkill 16 Week 17: Is Penn State actually good?

I've been keeping an eye on Penn State's Pomeroy rating for some time now, because it totally baffles me.

The Schuylkill 16 Week 17: Is Penn State actually good?

A disclaimer, first of all. The deadline for voting was before last night's games. So what you see below doesn't reflect the wins that Temple, La Salle and St. Joe's picked up, nor does it include Bucknell's loss at home to Holy Cross in the Patriot League Tournament.

I've been keeping an eye on Penn State's Pomeroy rating for some time now, because it totally baffles me. Yes, the Nittany Lions won at Virginia, but their second-best win by ranking was over No. 185 Davidson.

When conference play came around, Penn State lost its first 12 Big Ten games. That's right, an even dozen. They've won three of their last four, but two have been over Northwestern.

(We can discuss the Wildcats' collapse we can discuss at some other time. Perhaps when the journalism industry gets itself out of the trash can.)

As the Nitatny Lions head to Michigan State tonight, they are 11-17 overall, 3-13 in the Big Ten... and No. 88 in Pomeroy.

Now, I'm not saying that Saint Louis, Harvard, UCLA or William & Mary would beat the Nittany Lions. But it astounds me that a team with so many losses is the only Schuylkill 16 program other than Villanova and Temple that's ranked in the Pomeroy top 100.

Or maybe it's just an indictment of the other teams in the region. Let's ask this week's voters, shall we?

1. Villanova, 18 points (8 first-place votes)
- "There aren't many sure bets in Vegas, but if Nova plays Georgetown in the Big East tournament, take the over." (Jeff Shafer)

2. Temple, 21 points (5 first-place votes)
- "Clinches an NCAA berth with the Big 5 title. At least it should work that way, since the Big 5 will almost certainly get more tournament bids than the Pac-10." (Jeff Shafer)

3. Drexel, 62 points

Deep breath...

- "Okay, DAC Pack. I'm putting you #3. Not because your team deserves it. But you deserve it. If you think $200 to a bookstore is a good prize, then you are the type of person who keeps Tannenwald employed and I'm always looking out for my boy Tannenwald. How about that comment from the guy at the West Virginia game? $200 to Kroger for making a shot in a grocery cart? Do you think the ball had to stay in the cart and not bounce out? That could be mildly difficult, but still far easier than a halfcourt shot. If 100 people were surveyed and they could get either $200 to Kroger or $200 to Barnes and Noble, what do you think the survey results would be? Unless Tannenwald's recaps of the Penn Alumni Game are ever bound into a paperback, I'd be jumping over the Kroger gift card. Have you guys ever been to a Kroger? It's fantastic. They don't do aisles because they want you to get trapped in there and put more impulse items into your shopping cart. Aisles give the consumer an easy exit strategy. Kroger makes it a maze and they hide the cash register." (Todd Falkenberg)

4. Princeton, 69 points
- "Cornell is going to win the Ivy League, and people are going to say it was a walk for a pretty good team. But head-to-head, Cornell only beat Princeton by six points total in their two games. The Ivy race is really that close! Although in fairness, six points in the Princeton offense is like 27 in real basketball, so I guess it wasn't that close after all." (Jeff Shafer)

Exclamation points are not just the property of Stephen A. Smith, it seems.

5. Rutgers, 69 points
- "This is the only poll in the country where Rutgers could finish third. I would put them behind NJIT and Fairleigh Ridiculous (FDU) if this was an all-Jersey poll." (Andrew Melloh)

6. Lehigh, 84 points

7. Penn State, 98 points

8. Rider, 108 points

10. La Salle, 120 points
- "An analogy for you all. Falkenberg : LaSalle Basketball :: Tannenwald: _________. The answer? Woodchuck Cider. The former loves the latter, even though the latter stinks." (Daniel Simpson Day)

Don't hate because it tastes good, my friend.

11. Lafayette, 122 points
- "Certain things will get you punished in my rankings.  Losing to American is one of them." (Nick Catrambone)
- "If you Google 'Nick Catrambone,' all that comes up is his dorky Facebook page and a bunch of Tannenwald posts. Once again, the power of Tannenwald's SEO is clearly displayed." (Todd Falkenberg)

That's more like it.

11. Bucknell, 130 points

12. Delaware State, 146 points

13. Saint Joseph's, 154 points (2 last-place votes)
- "La Salle and Saint Joseph's. Loser goes home, winner makes the trip to St. Louis to lose to Rick Majerus. Wait, what are the choices again?" (Brian O'Neill)
- "I have a brother who is a St. Joe's grad. He complained to me the other day that their best player is going to transfer. I didn't bother asking who it was because all their players stink. " (Andrew Melloh)

A reminder to the folks on Hawk Hill that I'm just the messenger.

14. Delaware, 180 points (2 last-place votes)

15. Monmouth, 190 points (4 last-place votes)
- "The head coach at Monmouth got a "vote of confidence" from his athletics director this week. Which is good, because they're only a year away from an NJSIAA title." (Brian Ewart)

16. Penn, 194 points (5 last-place votes)

Write-ins

New Jersey Institute of Technology
- "I have decided to write in NJIT at number 15 because, if nothing else, they lead the nation in moral victories." (Brian Ewart)

The 76ers
"Delaware is out. Delaware lost to Towson. Towson lost to Drexel by 50 points, due to being clearly intimidated by the DAC Pack's wonderful prizes. Or maybe it was because the DAC Pack or Campus Activities Board hired that awful imitation Phillie Phanatic for the game who did nothing but stomp on a Yankees hat and try to feel up cheerleaders." (Todd Falkenberg)

Delaware is worse than the the 76ers? Forget about the fact that you brought up the 76ers on this blog in the first place. Equating any team to the 76ers could be considered cruel and unusual punishment by people who believe that the local pro basketball team is unwatchable.

But I wouldn't ever admit to being in that group... would I?

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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