Matt Barkley

Trojans top AP’s preseason poll


While CFT didn’t necessarily agree, the coaches tapped LSU as their preseason No. 1 in the USA Today poll released earlier this month.

As it turns out, we weren’t the only ones who respectfully disagree with the coaches either.

In its initial poll, the Associated Press voters tapped USC, heading into its first season post-NCAA sanctions, as its No. 1 team headed into the 2012 season.  The Trojans received 25 of the 60 first-place votes, with the 35 others divvied up among defending national champion Alabama (17), 2011 BcS runner-up LSU (16) and Oklahoma and Michigan (one apiece).

The Tide, Tigers and Sooners filled out the Nos. 2-4 spots, while the Wolverines came in at No. 8.

A couple of weeks ago, however, the top of the AP poll would’ve taken on an entirely different look.

The Tigers were poised to start the season No. 1 before Heisman Trophy finalist Tyrann Mathieu got kicked off the team a week ago.

In light of that development, the AP extended the voting deadline. Before Mathieu was dismissed, reportedly for failed drug tests, LSU had received 28 of a possible 60 first-place votes. USC was a close second with 22 first-place votes and Alabama was third with nine.

The remainder of the Top 10 was rounded out by Georgia (No. 6), Florida State (No. 7), South Carolina (No. 9) and Arkansas (No. 10).

As was the case in the coaches’ poll, five of the Top 10 teams were from the SEC, with a total of six (Florida, No. 23) representing the conference that has won the past six BcS titles.  The Big 12 also claimed six teams in the AP’s initial poll, while the Big Ten placed five and the ACC and Pac-12 had three apiece.

A pair of current/future Big East schools were the only non-Big Five teams in the poll: No. 24 Boise State (current Mountain West member moving to the Big East in 2013) and Louisville (No. 25).

No punishment from SEC for Bielema’s sideline interaction with Alabama player

Bret Bielema

Arkansas head coach Bret Bielema will not be disciplined by the SEC office for his brief interaction with Alabama offensive lineman Cam Robinson last weekend. A video showing Bielema exaggerating his interaction with Robinson at the end of a play was reviewed by SEC commissioner Greg Sankey, and the commissioner has discussed the situation with the Razorbacks coach.

“I visited with Bret over the phone on Monday and we discussed the play that has now become widely reviewed through a brief video clip,” Sankey said in a released statement. “Football is played in an intense competitive environment and I reminded him of the need for head coaches to resolve with their own players issues that may arise, which was his intent. The unsportsmanlike penalty assessed on the play was not directly associated with Bret’s efforts to intervene at the end of the play and we are moving forward in a positive manner.”

That appears to be the end of the discussion regarding Bielema’s act. I personally think there should have been some more done here by the league’s commissioner, but we will see if Bielema avoids putting himself in a similar position moving forward.

Temple announces rare football sellout

Jahad Thomas, Marcus Allen

In the midst of what could be a dream season in South Philadelphia, the Temple Owls announced a rare sellout for a football game this afternoon. The October 31 game at home against Notre Dame has sold out Lincoln Financial Field. This is the first time Temple has sold out two home games in the same season since 1976, when the Owls began playing home games in one of Philadelphia’s pro sports stadiums.

This is the second sellout of the season for Temple, but it is also worth mentioning who the opponents are for those two games; Penn State and Notre Dame. Penn State is always Temple’s biggest draw when they get a chance to host the Nittany Lions and their legions of fans in and around the Delaware Valley. Temple dominated Penn State in the season opener, snapping a long losing streak against the in-state power. Notre Dame is also a big draw everywhere the Irish go, and there is a solid fanbase in the southeastern part of Philadelphia as well.

It is also a rare trip to Philadelphia for Notre Dame. The Irish last played in Philadelphia in 1993 when they faced Navy in Veterans Stadium. Navy also hosted Notre Dame in Philadelphia in 1960, 1962, 1964, 1966, 1968, 1970, 1972 and 1974. Notre Dame and Temple have never played in Philadelphia, although they did face each other in the 2013 season opener. This year’s game is the second game of a home-and-home series.

The game could potentially prove to play a key role in the evolving College Football Playoff and Group of Five conversation as well. If Temple avoids slipping up this week against UCF and next week at East Carolina and USC holds off USC, then we could have an undefeated and top 25 Temple program hosting a top 15 or even potential top 10 Notre Dame on Halloween. Let’s not put the cart ahead of the horse here, but that could be a very attractive matchup worth paying attention to at the end of the month for many fanbases.