An Unfinished Line

At the seven-minute mark, coach Collins says “top 25 program.” Otherwise, great interview.

There is one thing Geoff Collins keeps saying that he probably should reconsider.

Every chance he gets, the new Temple football head coach says his team is a Top 25 program two years in a row.  In reality, it got close to the Top 25 and tripped before getting to the finish line. In all of the graphics put out by the Temple football twitter, the claim is that the program is a Top 25 program.


Getting close doesn’t put you in the top 25, at least not yet. That’s a little like Philadelphia Park putting a sign up on the track proclaiming Smarty Jones was a Triple Crown winner despite being edged out in the final leg, the 2004 Belmont Stakes.

If the NFL draft proved anything, it was that Temple’s talent is probably seen by the professionals as superior to both the talent of Toledo and Wake Forest and the Owls did not make the most out of that talent on two very important nights and paid a pretty steep price for it.


I think we all know what the reason was: Coaching. Matt Rhule treated the Boca bowl as a vacation and Toledo took care of business. Rhule skipped town before we knew how he would treat the Military Bowl. The legacy there is simply that the entire defensive coaching staff missed eight practices leading up to the game to recruit for Baylor and the results on the field were painfully apparent.

Now the baton has been passed to Collins, who must take it across the finish line.

Repeat as champions AND win the bowl game. Do that, and then rightfully claim to be a Top 25 program.

Not before.

Winning the AAC title is always the goal, but the legacy of Temple finishing in the Top 25 remains unfulfilled. If the Owls win the title again this year, and that’s a tall order indeed, finishing the season holding a trophy that could get them among the final elite should also be as important.

To me, finishing in sports is important and, while the Owls had an impressive finish to their regular season with a AAC title—hey, that’s a good thing to promote—they are not a Top 25 program yet.

Until you actually achieve something, it’s probably best off not claiming to have done it.

Friday: Capitalizing On The Draft




11 thoughts on “An Unfinished Line

  1. Mike, as I said before, winning a bowl game and ending up in the top 25, I think, is more important than winning the conference championship. It’s nice but doesn’t mean as much nationwide (especially as a G5 conference) as seeing Temple listed in the top 25 leading up to the next season. That’s how to get and retain attention IMO. And actually winning bowl games the last 2 seasons would have been important only because it would have kept Temple in the top 25, but wins in minor bowls against minor teams won’t be remembered much.

    • With a G5 conference, even a good one like the AAC, so marginalized by the P5, I would tend to agree that ending in the Top 25 is more important. That puts you WITH the P5 teams. Winning the AAC and not making the Top 25, puts you just outside that department store with your noses pressed up against the window looking at all of the P5 goodies inside.

  2. Mike, do you think Coach Collins can pull the team together and finish in the top 25 this year? If he doesn’t, I fear it will be an uphill battle until he turns the recruiting around. He has the reputation as a good recruiter but we have yet to see if he can get the job done here.

    • I said last year that this is the step back year and last year was the step forward year (from 2015) and while I was right about 2016 (even though just about everyone was saying we’d be worse),l hope I’m wrong about 2017. The key word is “step” back. Not steps. This is about an eight-win team at worse and a 10-win team at best. If Collins wins 10, I can easily envision a Daz-like exit. I doubt Anthony Russo will be as good right away as P.J. Walker was last year, but it certainly is possible he could blow us all away and make us forget P.J. I don’t see Logan or Frank or even Todd capable of doing that this year. Anthony, that’s a little more possible.

  3. Temple must win a bowl game for the fans. Collins may be coaching Georgia or Georgia Tech in a few years. Contingency “consultants” should be lined up to step in for the departing staff. It’s a win-win: Collins and his staff move up, and unemployed, deserving coaches (e.g. Todd McNair) get an opportunity to shine on ESPN as an interim HC, DC, or OC. Temple is all about opportunity.

    • Fans definitely got screwed. I must admit I cringed when I got all the info my fellow season-ticket holders did about spending money on the bowl game and the trip and staying in hotels, thinking, “Hey, didn’t we do that in Boca and leave with an empty feeling?” I definitely left the Military Bowl pissed off, not necessarily at Temple but at the state of college football that makes kids sit out a year before transferring to another FBS school but can’t make a simple rhule (err, rule) to make sure a coach cannot be hired until after the next signing day. College football is definitely corrupt in that regard. The powers that be care a lot more about P5 fans than G5 fans and I’m not sure when or if that will ever change.

  4. FY I Maybe it was a good thing Charley Strong was not available for TU.

    • Aren’t judges supposed to be impartial and fair? The player should ask for a change of venue if Judge Margie has a hissy fit during a preliminary hearing. Recall what PMO went through.

    • USF has been a cesspool for a while; it’s gonna take him some time to clean up. But he will, that’s his thing, especially in regards to abuse of women. Judge was wrong to blame him. Totally wrong and ill-informed. Grandstanding.

  5. To be safe I’ll say 7 wins minimum for 2017. That would put Temple in a bowl game at least, but not even a the top 25. There’s still a lot of talent with questions about game-day coaching (meaning we just don’t know although it looks it should be somewhat better than Rhule’s first 2 years coaching). I’m still hoping for a win at ND or at least a close hard fought game.

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