The Rockets predictably are being cool about their position in national polls, focusing instead on — pick your favorite cliche — what they can control, one game at a time, and trying to impr ... Oops, tap me next time I'm snoring. Contrasted to Monday's news conference, the bland presidential debate that evening was captivating.
That's their prerogative, and a smart one for a team that isn't good enough to focus on anything beyond its next opponent. But rankings do matter, and the difference in stature between the first team out, where UT resides in the latest AP poll, and the last team in, is immeasurable. A city that supports a top 25 team is a happy city. Morale, like ticket sales, will rise, and raggedy UT sweatshirts will be elevated from the bottom of dresser drawers.
If the Rockets extend their win streak to eight at Buffalo, they'll likely celebrate a seat in the top 25 for the first time since 2001. How precious is that? It hasn't happened since Hall of Famer Bruce Gradkowski was an uncelebrated true freshman with a funny Polish name.
Does UT, fresh off a win over Cincinnati, already deserve to be ranked? Fair arguments exist either way. What's not debatable is how badly this city thirsts to see one of these — # — next to its name.
For all things Toledo athletics, follow Ryan's blog, Rocket Docket.