Perfect Day For Openers

The key will be avoiding the letdowns that ailed TU last year.

In the closing months of a losing battle, Democratic primary contender Bernie Sanders told supporters that he was “good at math” but assured them that he still saw “a narrow path” to the nomination. Due to circumstances beyond his control (super delegates), that narrow path turned out to be as small as the eye of a needle.

So, too, it is for Temple’s path to the national championship game. Even folks who are good at math can see it’s a narrow path for Temple, but it’s a path nonetheless and it might be larger than the eye of a needle. The reality is that if both Houston and the Owls go 12-0 during the regular season, and Temple beats the Cougars in the title game, it would be extremely difficult to keep Temple out of a four-team playoff—especially if Penn State beats Pitt and has an upper-tier season in the Big 10.


Biggest depth chart surprises:

  1. Adrian Sullivan beating out last year’s starter, Brian Carter, at RG; Logan Marchi earning a second team QB tie with Frank Nutile; Marshall Ellick beating out Ventell Bryant at WR and Brodrick Yancy earning a No. 1 at WR; On defense, freshman and special teams star William Kwenkeu earning a backup LB spot and true freshman Benny Walls doing the same at SS.

In that scenario, Houston would own a win over a team picked to win the Big 12 title and Temple would hold a road win against a Big 10 contender. If Penn State does the impossible and wins the Big 10, then the Owls would be shoe-ins for a four-team playoff but that’s probably asking for a bit much.

On this perfect day to open the season, maybe the Owls will finish perfect but that’s a lot of gravy to ask for because they had their head-scratching moments a year ago (USF, SMU in a win, Toledo) and lost four of their last seven. That’s been the pattern for long-time Temple football fans, even in good seasons, since 1982.

After Wayne Hardin’s tenure, even good Temple football seasons have gone like this: Beat someone you are not supposed to beat (Wisconsin, 1990) and lose to someone who are not supposed to lose to (Wyoming, 1990). The pattern repeated itself under Al Golden (UConn win and Ohio loss, 2010), Steve Addazio (Maryland win, Bowling Green loss, 2011) and Matt Rhule (Memphis win, Idaho and Fordham losses, 2013).

That pattern did not exist in Wayne Hardin’s best years, especially 1979 when the Owls only lost to two ranked teams, Pitt and Penn State, and the average margin of those two losses was eight points. No one on the current schedule, including Penn State, will probably be ranked and there is no reason why Temple has to repeat that pattern this season.

The key, of course, to break it and we have not seen it done in 30 years. I’ve said a few months ago that this team is more than capable of breaking the school record of 10 wins with 11, and that’s the minimum acceptable benchmark.

Anything else will be gravy and I like gravy.

Tomorrow: Game Analysis

Monday: What’s New?


12 thoughts on “Perfect Day For Openers

  1. They deserve to lose. Defense has been terrible. Not sure what they practiced since the end of last season. Cant play 3-4 when they are giving ball to FB all game.

    Walker also left a lot of points on the field. Not very accurate. At least 2 TD’s if he is more accurate. This is a joke.

  2. Still want to tell me we don’t miss Mattekevitch?

    • …though I appreciate Mike’s passion, I said a number of times that I thought he was misguided when he assumed that replacing 3-4 year starters, especially at LB and the o-line, with guys with ‘potential’ was going to be some sort of clean swap.

      …when Schiano was at Rutgers, a word he loved and hated was ‘potential’. Potential has never won a game for anybody.

      Joe P.

  3. Walker took a major leap backwards tonight. He was awful!

  4. There goes the Lambert Trophy.

  5. Towson vs. Temple at Franklin Field, September, 2018. Good times.

  6. two major issues.., 1. First fundamental in football is to stop the run between the tackles…, HW and MI were physically big bodies who took up a lot of space and shut down the inside run. We now need what we don’t have… big, tall and wide, bodies at DT who are immovable objects. Elijah Robinson’s theory about quickness over bulk didn’t tonight and won’t work against PSU and USF.

    2. Vertical passing game. Our WRs and QB must be able to beat single coverage with a basic fly pattern down the field..,

    Triple bogey tonight, we lost to Army, are out of the Big 12 conversation, and our visionary BOT has watched the on-campus stadium project die a slow thousand cut death

    7-5 season on the horizon

    • KJ, totally agree with you about the defensive line, looked small and easily pushed around. In fact both lines had their problems tonight, the offensive line seemed very inconsistent. Right now, of course off of only one game, this defense looks like it will have real problems against a power run game and like last year mobile QBs.
      As for the passing game, I thought the roll outs worked well and the receivers were getting open on those routes all night, don’t know why we didn’t keep going back to that play until Army stopped it.
      7-5 does seem like a possibly, figuring 2-2 in OOC now and 5-3 in the AAC. I guess we’re still in an every 3 years very good team mode, not yet at a point where we can “re-tool” after losing as many key players and rather have to re-build

  7. Phil Snow should be ashamed of himself. The triple option is not hard to stop if you play a six man line with two guys in the A gaps (either side of center) and tackles heads up on the offensive tackles. Can’t have your LB playing 4-5 yards off the guard. I sit in the end zone and knew nine out of ten times where Army was going. On offense I know now why PJ changed his name because he was pathetic. Lose some weight and again become the running threat you once were. On top of that, the OC did not throw one pass longer than twenty yards. Give me a break. Also why not use DeLoach on a fade by the goal line. Every coach all should refuse a pay check for this week because that had to be the worst TU performance in five -ten years.

    • Walker did seem slower than last season when ran last night. Plus can the offense get rid of those deep drop back plays, Walker was much more effective rolling out.

      • Closed my eyes and imagined it was Ruhle’s first year. Same posters. Same comments. Same post-game bravado. Same post-game trolling. 13-0 becomes 8-5. Playoff spot to bring lucky to beat C .W. Post. Boring.

      • Not as boring as the game plan was last night.

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