Omission of Owls by Top 25 Voter Illustrates Flaw in System

The lamest excuse in the history of mankind was made earlier this week by an ESPN Top 25 college football pollster helped illustrate the flaws in a system ripe for human error: “I forgot.”

The pollster, Travis Haney, was one of two voters who had 5-1 Penn State ranked above 5-0 Temple, even though the Owls not only handed the Nittany Lions their only loss of the season, but chose to have mercy by running out the clock in 27-10 win deep in PSU territory. The Owls scored the game’s final 27 points and had so much momentum going they could have added another score for 34-10 but chose to take three knees. Haney had Penn State ranked No. 25 and Temple unranked.

Even the PSU fans admitted as much afterward:


If you can’t read this, click anywhere on the blue. To return to this page (after that), hit the “back” button on your browser.

That prompted this exchange on twitter:

Haney deserves as much credit as blame. He could have made up a more palatable excuse, but went with honestly. The other pollster, former Miami coach Butch Davis, was reached out to and did not respond. I would not be surprised if he forgot as well. He had Penn State ranked No. 23 and Temple unranked.

The problem with this example is that it probably happens all of the time and not just with the two men voting in an ESPN poll and it is an inherent flaw in a system that relies on human memory. When the committee gets together to pick the playoff teams, things like polls do have an impact—even if it is a psychological one. In this example, Temple was the most affected team but it could really happen to anyone else in any other poll. In the AP poll, Owls sit right now at No. 26, tops among “others receiving votes” and, based on Haney’s admission, they have to wonder if someone else who “forgot” them cost them a spot in the top 25 this week. The difference between 26th and 25th is enormous, because it means getting on the scoreboard crawl that runs across the bottom of TV screens for every game or getting ignored.

In a multi-million dollar business, or anything else really, the “I forgot” excuse should not fly.


18 thoughts on “Omission of Owls by Top 25 Voter Illustrates Flaw in System

  1. Unreal. A top 25 ranking provides the program with national exposure, it provides a boost to recruiting and gets fans at the games. Voters should take their responsibility seriously given how much is at stake.

    • sad considering that being No. 26 in the AP bowl means that even if one voter is sloppy, could cost a spot with the big boys. (And I know this guy works for ESPN, not AP, but I can’t believe that he’s the only voter to ever forget a team or that this doesn’t happen in other polls as well.)

  2. The real flaw rests with the NCAA which has not fought this “have and have not” division of D-1 teams. If anyone thinks that any of the teams not in the top five conferences are anything but afterthoughts and interlopers to those choosing the top 25 think again. The sainted conferences hate it when a Boise State crashes their party and when it’s a Temple they can’t get the bad taste out of their mouths fast enough.

    • It was manifested by a complete mugging on NCAA basketball selection Sunday by the so-called “eye test” which is really another bogus criteria added by the P5 to screw the G5.

      • I honestly don’t know why they don’t just make another division already. If they are going treat half of FBS as teams that don’t count why even be in FBS? Create a new division between FBS and FCS. Non-P5 become part of that division and top teams from FCS can move up. Perhaps a few scholarships would be lost but most non-P5 schools don’t use them all anyways. It also could be good for the business of college football because then there would be another championship out there.

  3. Mike,

    Time will take care of itself in the long run. My thought is to keep on enjoying what has been the best season off owls football in 30 plus years.

    Worry about winning for now and the Owls will force their way into gaining deserved attention.

    • In a perfect world, that would be true but it is an imperfect world with a lot of variables–one being the earlier you get into the top 25, the faster you move up. If a 5-0 Temple team was No. 21, instead of 26, a 6-0 team might become 18 and a 7-0 team 15. Then, a 7-0 team beating a 7-1 (and, say, No. 11) ND becomes NO. 10 and so on and so forth. That’s why we have to be vigilant and point out these perceived and real voter slights whenever we can.

  4. “Leave no doubt” still has a long way to go. Our record over the last five does not warrant the benefit of the doubt from the voters. Continued outstanding on the field performance is the only way.

    Temple is a really good team this year and will probably finish no worse than 9-3. Winning the AAC Championship and a bowl game would guarantee a Top 25 end of season ranking.

    I would rather have a hungry un-ranked undefeated Temple team going into the ND game. Don’t think Temple will be ranked after a UCF win, and getting ranked after an ECU win right before the ND game may not be a good thing.

    “Leave no doubt” is still the call to battle.

  5. I think a UCF win gets temple in top 25. Number 18 UCLA just got 2nd loss and that should drop them out top 25. Also I think number 20 Northwestern loses to Iowa and thatc will drop them out top 25. That should move the owls to number 24.

    • We’ve already established that there are Travis Haneys and Butch Davis out there who either by ignorance or sloppiness put PSU over Temple. I just have to wonder how many of them vote in the AP poll, which is really the more important one. I will scream bloody murder if PSU beats OSU and jumps up in the poll but I screamed Bloody Murder on Selection Sunday and it did not get me anything but a sore throat.

  6. Looks like number 21 Boise St will go down tonight to. An Owls win over UCF is looking really good to Crack top 25.

  7. you guys are intoxicated after only six games, Boise State will come back to win tonight. Temple will get zero credit for beating a winless USF team, if they win. The AAC will have one ranked team on Sunday, Houston.

    Houston has the best chance to be undefeated going into the AAC championship game, provided they can beat Navy.

    The best thing for Temple would be to have a minimum of two loses in conference, and winning the AAC Championship to finish the season at 10-3

  8. wow, what a viewpoint. I cant believe ppl can be so careless when voting.

    At least he explained what happened, and you know he wont make the mistake next week.

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