Cherry and White Bowls Matter

NCAA Football: Military Bowl-Temple vs Wake Forest

These are the disturbing images Owls have seen walking off the field the last two seasons.


The next time someone tells you a bowl game is a meaningless post-season exhibition game, tell them the story of the last two Temple football seasons.

Each time, the Owls flushed down the toilet the priceless ring of a Top 25 finish by losing to underdogs.

That meant that Vegas had faith in the Owls—1.5 favorites over Toledo and 12.5 favorites over Wake Forest—but that circumstances prevented the Owls from winning and appearing in the Top 25 for two straight seasons. Vegas is usually right, so something went terribly wrong for the Owls at the end of the last two seasons.

If that weren’t enough in and of itself (it is), consider this: Top 25 voters the next year, for the most part, are lazy journalists who just list the teams who were from the Top 25 the year before. Those teams have a built-in advantage over the rest of the other 102 FBS teams because, once in that Top 25 club, you have to play your way out. It is much harder to play your way in from the outside.

That’s the way college football works.

Had the Owls, No. 24 in the CFB poll, beat Wake Forest, they would have likely risen above fellow state school Pittsburgh, the No. 23 team, that lost to Northwestern in the Pinstripe Bowl. Had they beaten Wake Forest coming off a win over Toledo the year prior, they would have established themselves as a more permanent Top 25 presence and that perception in a pro town like Philadelphia would have been invaluable.

We now know why that did not happen. The Owls went heavy on the fun and sun in Boca two bowls ago and, this year, the entire defensive staff missed eight practices leading up to the bowl game.

A Temple program that hemorrhages coaches out the door of the E-O is doomed to this fate, unless new coach Geoff Collins sticks around for a few years. He almost certainly is assured to be here through a bowl game next year and this is where the Owls must make their move for 2018, by establishing themselves in the Top 25 with a bowl win and setting themselves up for upward mobility a year after that.

The Owls should be in a bowl next season and, once there, the entire Temple community from the Board of Trustees to the football element must realize how valuable it is to win this time. That should be the “unfinished business” Collins makes sure is transacted next year under, hopefully, a new and more original slogan.


Wednesday: Waiting For A Puff of Gray Smoke

Friday: God And The Power 5

Sunday: Threading The Needle


10 thoughts on “Cherry and White Bowls Matter

  1. So what’s the solution? Moving NSD back one month? NCAA no-coach soliciting rule until the season ends? Contingency/reciprocal coaching vacancy agreements? Too many fans are getting frustrated.

    • That is the “Catch-22” part of the college football experience. It seems like the only fans “frustrated” by the process are fans of the non-P5 teams. Since the P5 teams control every move the NCAA makes regarding college football at the FBS level, I don’t see this thing changing. I can’t tell you how many people who I heard making that long walk back to the bus in Annapolis saying they were not going to be fooled by a Temple bowl game again and will not spend money on it. I would not discount this element of the Temple fandom. I don’t blame the kids either year. It was the coaches easing up on the gas peddle the first year and the lack of coaches available to put the peddle to the mettle the second year.

      • Non P5 conferences could employ reciprocal agreements. If a teams coaches leave the program before the bowl game, they get to pick coaches from other non-eligible teams to work with the bowl-eligible players. For example, Temple may have chosen a couple of coaches from Tulane, who played WF this year, to help prepare for WF. Non-P5 conferences need to prepare for coach poachers. Win-win: Coaches get bowl experience, players get properly prepared, the conference looks stronger, and fans don’t get short-changed.

  2. Good article, and I appreciate your point of view. In some ways I defended the Boca Blunder by saying, “well, we don’t go to bowls often so the team hasn’t adjusted to post-season training”. I can admit when I am wrong, and I was in that statement. Clearly after the last two bowls we are stubbing our toe down the finish. Both games rightfully should have been won.

    If Collins can get the ball rolling out of the gate (sans 2 win seasons) there may be less distractions to ensure bowl wins. Just a thought.

  3. Well, last year WAS Rhule’s fault in not “keeping the pedal to the metal.” This year was a different story, but the players, no matter how motivated (and maybe the seniors could have done a better job with that), still have to listen to the coaches and follow a game plan – that first half was a disgrace. Given Wakes solid game plan and play and the Owls half time regrouping, if Temple had been down 7 or 10 points less by half time, they probably would have won. Looks like Temple can go bowling again next year – no reason to go back to a losing record. Maybe Collins can motivate a bowl win. We’ll see.

  4. This is unrelated to this topic, but I watched the Pittsburgh-Miami game for a while yesterday and saw Tyler on the field for a few special teams plays.

    Does anyone know how he did this year? Was he strictly a coverage guy or did he get some time with the defense?

    I understand that Tavon Young played pretty well in Baltimore…did Iosnitis ever get off of Washington’ practice squad?

    • Matt I was on regular roster half-way thru season. The former Owl I was most impressed with was Tahir Whitehead for the Lions. His game a few weeks ago versus Dallas was outstanding. He straight-up stoned Dak Prescott on a few QB draws and laid some good sticks on Ezekiel Elliot.

      Matt Rhule’s will be one of a handful of coaches providing analysis on espn 2 for tonight’s Natl Champ game. The network shows the game from some non-traditional angles including an overhead shot of the full field and the analysts break down the game like a live film session.

      • I like how they paired Daz to sit right across from MR. No way that wasn’t intentional, and did you catch the comment Daz made about his wife and Rhule? Funny.

  5. Looks like Collins is drawing excellent assistants. Let’s hope they can recruit.

  6. Agreed that bowl wins/showings do matter. They can change the complexion of a season for better or worse. As Mike described above, 2 bowl losses turned 2 10-win Temple teams into ‘hey, remember that?’ instead of finishing in the Top 25. Your 2011 season and New Mexico Bowl win likeky helped set the stage for a number of guys who have helped on the field the last few years for you. In 2012 Rutgers went 9-3, won a share of the Big East title, had a Top 20 defense…and an ugly 13-10 OT loss to VT in the Russell Athletic Bowl kept us out of the Top 25 with many Rutgers fans considering that year a lost opportunity. In 2014, a QL Bowl win gave Rutgers the Lambert Trophy and that season gets remembered more fondly.

    Joe P.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s