Finished Business

Brandon does a great job here encapsulating the fan experience in Annapolis. Just look at the amount of Cherry in this video and double it tomorrow.

A little over a year ago, linebacker Tyler Matakevich set the agenda for this season much like a running back named Kenny Harper set it the year prior.

Fighting back the tears, Matakevich said this was not the way he pictured the way his Temple career would end and that his biggest message to the seniors was that they had to do whatever was necessary to ensure that what happened to him did not happen to them. Leave No Doubt was Harper’s plea to Matakevich’s group about an appearance in a bowl game.


Matakevich raised those stakes with the next group, so Unfinished Business was born as the slogan of choice for the 2016 season.

So far, they have taken care of business by returning to the championship game and doing what Matakevich and his teammates were not able to do and that was to win it this time.

Now only one checkmark is left on the “to-do” list and that is win the bowl game tomorrow (3:30, ESPN) against Power 5 member Wake Forest.  The teams have two common foes, with both Wake (21-13) and Temple (28-13) losing at home to Army. The other foe is Tulane, who the Owls beat, 31-0, on the road, and Wake struggled for a 7-3 win at home.


Since the Army result was pretty much the same, the Tulane result probably is one of the main reasons why the Owls are 12-point favorites now. Still, the Demon Deacons (6-6) have done some other things that deserve respect, including beating Syracuse, 28-9, and winning at Duke and Indiana. The Owls do not have much of an opportunity to pick up Power 5 wins, and this is one of them in a conference they feel they are a better fit for than the AAC.

While they appear to be blocked from upward mobility for at least a few years, they want to be able to establish a brand in front of a league audience that does not get to see them play much.

More importantly, they want to complete the most impressive trifecta in Temple football history—a league championship, a school-record 11 wins and a top 25 finish. While the 1979 team that finished No. 17 in the country probably will remain the most high-profile Owls’ team of all-time, this team has an outside chance of also finishing in the top 20.

The question is how much will losing their head coach means psychologically, physically, and game plan wise against a stable coaching staff? The guess here is at least a little but not enough for Wake Forest to overcome a significant talent advantage on both sides of the ball. Plus, there should be enough crazy loud Cherry and White fans to help carry them across the Finished Business line. Matt Rhule deserves credit for permitting Phil Snow to help Ed Foley and the kids close this thing out.

The legacy that this group could set for generations at Temple should be enough to turn last year’s tears into smiles that will last a lifetime.


Wednesday: Game Analysis 


19 thoughts on “Finished Business

  1. the 2015 freshmen will graduate with the most wins and as the most storied senior class in Temple history.., how many conference championships and bowl wins will they get?

  2. We are in Annapolis for the game tomorrow. Where are Owls fans hanging out??

    • I wish I knew. Half the people there are in DC and the other half in Annapolis. I will be headed down on the bus at 7 a.m. tomorrow. Maybe someone is down there can post where the bar crawl stops are?

      • My man! Wanted to meet you so wish you were here. We found the crowd TEMPLE STRONG! Dock Street Bar & Grill…TON of TU fan fired up for the game!! Let’s go OWLS!!!

  3. err, thanks. I will be at the alumni tent in a few hours. probably around 10 a.m.

  4. At work. Turned on the live stream of the game. Temple INT! Nice. Well done boys. Next play. Temple TD 48 yard BOMB!


  5. It’s still early but so far after 1st quarter temples O line looks horrendous. Running backs have no chance to pick up any yards and walker has no time whatsoever to throw the ball.

    • It has been a great season. Congratulations to young men on the AAC championship. However, I can tell we are about to lose this game. Wake Forest is actually tougher up front. I am a bit surprised.

  6. late 2nd Qtr Temple down 31 to 7 So far shit ugly- PJ sucks again along with O line, D line, D backs, whole team

  7. First and last time commenter. My friends and family have heard me say it before, but I am done. We just saw the end of the best Temple era ever…. and they couldn’t beat Wake F***ING Forest. I admire Mike and your dedication. If I am devastated I can’t imagine how you and how the other die-hards feel. I bought season tickets when they were kicked out of the Big East – saw many games at Franklin Field. I listened to Harry Donahue in countless horribe Saturdays in the 90s and early 2000’s before the Owls started getting extensive TV time. But the Army game and the last two bowls just broke my back. Today was inexcusable. My son, who is not a sports fan, just asked me if I was angry. I said “if I didn’t think mom would divorce me, I would throw this bottle through the TV.” I am sorry, and I know many of you will be critical of me. I probably deseve it. I understand it is only a game, but damn it just ruined the rest of my holiday week. I hope you all are more mature and can enjoy the rest if the season!

    • I understand completely. If you read my comments elsewhere in this thread, you’ll see I feel your pain. I realize that winning the Army game would have given us magic win #11 but that loss doesn’t look that bad now, since they won the Army-Navy game and their bowl game!!

  8. There goes the on-campus stadium, SEC invite and street cred.

    • I look at this objectively. This program was bad for so long. These past two years are a victory. Let us take our time and put it all in perspective. The program has taken huge strides but there is still some work to do. Still a good season.

      • When Temple was a heavy favorite to get that historic win #11 and had a great opportunity to finish season in Top-25 for only second time in team history, very tough to end with that loss and not feel disappointed. Owls are winning enough games to have high expectations. We just won a Conference Championship and could have ended year with a GREAT season (instead of just good). That “gold ring” was there and we didn’t grab it! That hurts big-time.

  9. Still can’t believe out of all people, Sean Chandler muffed that punt.

  10. This loss hurts in so many ways. Just need to vent without going into the gory details I am sure Mike will address in next column. Beginning to feel there is a TEMPLE JINX standing in the way of that record-breaking win #11. Anyone else feel like we didn’t win 20 games the last 2 seasons because of the bitter endings? (This one even more painful than last season.) Also, can’t help wondering how much the “Rhule factor” contributed to this unhappy ending? Both his departing Temple before the bowl game and that he allowed the defensive coaches he hired away to come to Waco during bowl preparations , even though they came back for the game. Will end as I started, THIS LOSS HURTS IN SO MANY WAYS.

    • As much as Rhule was successful, there is one thing he could not do: win a bowl game.

      – Last year it was distractions b/c he was talking to other schools, while this year it was him leaving and taking his coaching staff with him.

      – Let’s hope Coach Collins finally “finishes” this.

  11. Team just didn’t look prepared and I attribute that to the whole Rhule departure. I’m sure the remaining staff did the best they could but I get a sense too many tasks for too few people. Plus didn’t really see what Snow and the rest of the defensive staff who returned from Waco added to the effort. I realize players made mistakes but it seemed both offensive and defensive calls were just coming in slowly. There were times when it looked like defensive players were trying to address their formations right up until WF snapped the ball. On offense there were a couple of times that Walker was looking to the sidelines and tossing up his hands waiting for a play. The whole coaching situation seemed to be a huge factor in the game.

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