A Step Back, Albeit Tiny

EA Sports likes Notre Dame, 14-9; we’ll go with 17-13. Love the Temple fight song being played in this simulation.

Time waits for no man, even if that man is as affable and amiable as Geoff Collins, Temple’s new head coach.

While Collins might not be ready to name a starter at quarterback, a couple of outlets already named one for him.


Your turn to pick the scores

EA Sports has Logan Marchi starting the Notre Dame game, while USA Today confidently predicts that Todd Centeio will be Temple’s starter.

Others closer to the program swear Frank Nutile will get the nod and this reporter hopes that all four players—all four—get a chance to show their stuff in a real game against real competition. If that never happened, Temple fans would not have gotten to see arguably the best quarterback of the last decade, Adam DiMichele, because he was a notoriously bad camp and spring ball quarterback who clicked once the lights went on during the regular season.

Well, in the spirit of time waiting for no man, at this time every year we like to look into our crystal ball and give a game-by-game breakdown and we’ve run out of patience waiting for a starter.

Last year, fans from opposing teams and members of the Fake News wrote “Temple will take a step back in 2016” from its 10-win season. Au contrare, we said, just the opposite. Last year was the step forward year, not the step back one. We predicted an 11-win season and an AAC championship. We did not get the 11-win season because the coach who claimed lifetime fidelity to Temple jumped ship and took his coaches with him, but there can be no doubt the season was a step forward with a title.


A victory over Florida in the Birmingham Bowl would be a satisfying end to a successful season.

In all fairness, in that prediction, we wrote that “next year (2017) will be the step back year and not this one” so, while it would be tempting to predict the Owls go 15-0 and win the national title, that would be, at best, intellectually dishonest.

EA Sports got it right with its simulation of the ND game. In my mind, this was going to be a low-scoring one and EA has Notre Dame winning, 14-9. We’ll go two touchdowns and a field goal for ND and two field goals and a touchdown for Temple. ND, 17-13. What most of the nation doesn’t know, but will know soon is that this Temple defense will be better the last two. The offense will determine the season.

IF Collins loves the Temple
kids as much as he says he
does, he stays through the
Birmingham Bowl and completes
a successful season with a
27-20 win over his
former SEC team, Florida

Villanova at Temple (0-1), Sept. 9 _ If Temple only gets one touchdown in the opener, expect a new quarterback for this one. The last time the Owls hired a SEC coordinator to be head coach, he understood the importance of a beatdown of the crosstown rival and won two games, 42-7, and 41-10. While losing to ND can be considered acceptable, losing to Villanova cannot. Temple, 41-3. Temple is now 1-1.

UMass at Temple (1-1), Sept. 16 _ Too much drama in the last game between these two teams. Playing at home makes a world of difference here. Temple, 35-10.

Temple (2-1)  at USF, Sept. 21 _ Much as it pains me to say, Quintin Flowers and the Bulls have been circling this one on the calendar for a full year and they will be ready for the ambush. USF, 34-24.

Houston at Temple (2-2), Sept. 30 _ Never a big Major Applewhite fan and losing Greg Ward will adversely affect Houston more than the loss of P.J. Walker with Temple. Owls, 28-14.

Temple (3-2) at ECU, Oct. 7 _  ECU loses its best player, Zay Jones, to Buffalo of the NFL and, judging from its 37-10 loss to Temple last year, it needs more good players, not less. Temple, 27-14.

UConn at Temple (4-2), Oct. 14 _ UConn brings a new coach, Randy Edsall, and a new quarterback, David Pindell, into Philadelphia. Collins wanted Pindell, but Edsall got him.  This game will be closer than last year’s game. Temple, 21-17.

Temple (5-2) at Army, Oct. 21 _ A good sign for this one is that Collins has watched so much Temple film he can recall individual plays current Owls made from 2015 to now. At times, it seemed that Matt Rhule’s staff never opened a film projector and one of those times was in game prep for Army a year ago. If Collins watches as much film as we think he does, he will give Army a heavy dose of the running game on offense and plug the A gaps on defense with two tackles and a nose guard to bust the triple option at the point of attack. Temple, 63-23.

Navy at Temple (6-2), Nov. 3 _ The 5-2 defense that Temple employed at Army comes in handy against Navy. Temple, 31-19. (Interestingly, Phil Snow went mostly with a 5-2 in a 34-10 AAC title win over Navy with Averee Robinson and Freddy Booth-Lloyd alternating as the nose guard.)

Temple (7-2) at Cincinnati, Nov. 10 _ The Bearcats also have a new coach, but the culture of winning is not as entrenched as it is with the Owls. Temple, 30-7.

UCF at Temple (8-2), Nov. 18 _ Scott Frost has UCF improved, so this won’t be easy but Temple TUFFs it out, 21-20, on a late Austin Jones’ field goal.

Temple (9-2) at Tulsa, Nov. 25 _ With the AAC West on the line, Tulsa’s offense is just too much for Collins’ Mayhem defense. Tulsa wins the shootout and gets to play USF in the title game. Tulsa, 31-27.

IF Collins loves the Temple kids as much as he says he does, he stays through the Birmingham Bowl and completes a successful season with a 27-20 win over his former SEC team, Florida. The Owls might rather play Baylor, BC or Penn State but those opportunities will not be on the table. An SEC opponent like Florida would present an appealing story line. The Owls finish the regular season 9-3 and sneak into the final Top 25 poll, making them a real Top 25 program and not a self-proclaimed one.

For Collins, that opens up some interesting options.

His name becomes a hot one for after the 2018 season. Maybe he breaks the mold and becomes the guy who figures out that the grass isn’t always greener on the other side of the 10th and Diamond fence. Or maybe the maddening cycle continues and Ed Foley coaches the 2018 bowl game. If that’s the case, football bowl time at Temple unfortunately takes on the feel of Groundhog Day once again.

Friday: Eye Of The Needle

Monday: Game Week Begins (Can You Believe It?)


15 thoughts on “A Step Back, Albeit Tiny

  1. 9-3 regular season with a bowl win over P5 team would be a great season. I think CC hangs around then with the hope of a conference championship in 2018. I really think the goal of winning a conference championship will be a big factor in Coach Collins’ tenure here. He’ll move on after 5 years if he hasn’t won one by then. And earlier if he does win one. The AD should be prepared for that eventuality.

    • Nah, if we really do win 9 games this season, CC is out in 2 years.

      • Hell, he might be out after one. Let’s hope he doesn’t stiff this team and leave Ed Foley to coach the bowl game. There were several reasons why Ed was 7-15 between two of the most successful Fordham head coaches (Dave Clawson, Joe Moorhead) and we saw all of those reasons against Wake Forest.

  2. ACC football is a reflection of life, and life is unpredictable. Prepare for the worst and hope for the best. I’m hoping for a 6-6 season and a bowl game win.

  3. I think that the game at Army may be the most important on the schedule. For one thing, they may be better than Mike expects and it is a road game.

    For another, it may be the guarantee for that 6th win and a bowl game invitation. Those last 4 games will be rough and not inconceivable that they drop alll 3 of the four.

    A loss at West Point could mean 4 losses in last 5 games? That can’t look good.

    Do you think it’s better to have a softer schedule up front or near e d?

    • I like the tougher schedule at the end because it gives the kids chance to build a belief system in Collins, if they haven’t already. Judging just from his comments and his breaking down past Temple film (in a way I have broken it down on this site, i.e., Sharif Finch being the best defensive player on the field in the 2015 PSU game), this guy has a clue that even Rhule did not have. He told me personally how much he believes in Sharga (as I do) and will expand Nick’s role to at least 4-5 carries a game. That’s all I needed to hear. Rhule crapped the bed in maybe one of the worst Temple game plans ever (Army, 2016), so I’m not as much a believer in Army as you are. An Army team that last beat a P5 team lost to Temple, 63-32, because Daz knew they could not handle our running game. Daz was an SEC coach. So is this guy.

  4. If CC has already identified the stud QB of the four (but is not announcing it) and he is, in fact, better prepared than MR to make his coaching debut, I’m thinking ND upset is very possible. This assumes much of what has been written on this site is pretty accurate. The defense is very good, skill positions the same, O line is better than expected (and disciplined), Sharga is outstanding, special run option package works well, TU brings confidence of a conference championship and ND after a 4 win season is a team that can have its confidence deflated if TU game plan surprises them early. All of this seems to within the realm of possible. But starts with CC finding “thee” QB.

    • not in favor of the multiple QB approach…., who was the last team to win any kind of championship with this method…,

      is this a question of an abundance of elite talent, or lack thereof? I cringe every time a reporter asks an offensive player about the subject..,

  5. Maybe I’m just an idiot but can anybody explain what happend with the 2 drummers from the band going at it at football practice? The 2nd guy didn’t due anything but the team went nuts for him?? I’ve watched it several times and i just don’t get what the 2nd drummer did that was so amazing!!

    • There is something called a mic drop… the drummer did it with his drumsticks. It’s a millennial thing.

      • I get the whole mic drop thing but I was always under the impression that you had to do something to warrant the mic drop lol

    • Not a fan, either, Kevin. Saw the video and was not wowed by it. Would have been much more wowed if he played ‘][‘ for Temple U and the kids went nuts. I think Collins is trying to build a bridge to the current students and this was his way of doing it, that’s all. Good for him. So much more impressed with the amount of weight he’s lost in the last six months. Definitely in fighting/coaching shape. That’s a lot of Diet Mountain Dew drinking right there.

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