Around The AAC: Another Hissed Off Saturday

saddest

Just when you thought a beautiful Saturday would be the antidote for the anger Temple fans justifiably felt after watching Temple lose two games it should not have the last two weeks, we offer you just two games you might have watched yesterday:

Missouri at UConn

Houston at South Florida

The loser in one of those games and the winner in another should have been games in the W column for Temple, but were not due to a long litany of bad coaching decisions in both games.

Just think about it: With USF’s loss to Houston, and Owls wins against two of the above teams, the Owls would be in the hunt to defend their title down the stretch.

That’s all we ever asked and it was never too much.

Now it won’t, thanks to a very poor choice of a coach and his choice of a coaching staff who combined to make the most dazzlingly poor decisions at the worst possible times against Houston and UConn.

We won’t get into those here, but just tell you that Temple had a first-and-goal at the 7 against Houston (and did not do the Temple thing of running the ball) and played a mistake-prone quarterback against UConn when it was apparent to all that the better choice all along was the guy who started at Army.

Ugh.

When the story of this Temple season is written, the author should have been John Greenleaf Whittier, who said:

“For all the words of tongue and pen, the saddest are these: It might have been.”

After all of these games, Temple head coach Geoff Collins talks about the mistakes and says: “These will be corrected.” (Hey, what, exactly, was the eight months of practice before Notre Dame for? Shouldn’t that have been enough time to clean all that up?)

Interesting that some of the same mistakes made in the first game against Notre Dame and the second against Villanova have never been corrected.

However, the Owls go from game to game and the head coach promises to make corrections that never come.

Missouri, a team that lost, 35-3, to Purdue (which lost to lowly Rutgers), took UConn to the woodshed. UConn has the worst pass defense in college football and Temple has among the best receivers, but the Owls were so stubborn in their desire to have a “running quarterback” that they gave up whatever advantage in the passing game they had by not giving the two better “passing quarterbacks” on the above-the-line chart a shot.

Houston, a team that the Owls should have beat, got the job done that the Owls did not at USF.

Talent?

No, coaching.

The solution is nowhere in sight as the powers-that-be at Temple don’t eat contracts nor do they have the appetite to dine at that expensive restaurant. In a perfect world, they would tell Al Golden to get the binder and the staff ready now so we can get back to the Temple football brand he created.

Temple athletics lives in another world, unfortunately.

Temple will have to face Navy, UCF, Cincinnati and Tulsa and the only realistic win right now is Cincy and it has nowhere near as much to do with talent as it does with coaching. Recruits will see that and it could have a effect that would cause this whole thing to spiral downward.

If that doesn’t hiss you off, it should.

John Greenleaf Whittier would be turning over in his grave.

Tuesday: Losing Is An Attitude

Thursday: Navy Preview

Friday: Game Analysis

Monday: The Kelly Solution

19 thoughts on “Around The AAC: Another Hissed Off Saturday

  1. Glad I gave you this storyline in a response on your previous post. Things like this are what makes being a TU football fan so disheartening. Like I said woulda, coulda, shoulda. Not as profound as John Greenleaf Whittier but what did we know in Brooklyn. After all, the Dodgers were the kings of woulda, coulda, shoulda. Then, when they finally won the Series, they left Brooklyn two years later..

  2. I am not sure that Golden should be the first choice for Temple if a change were made. Golden certainly rescued Temple from the disaster that was Temple Football. He was a good organizer and CEO. I thought, and I thought you stated, that his game day coaching was not very good. Not horrible like the current coaches, but not what you need to win repeated conference championships. As you pointed out repeatedly, he never beat a MAC team with a winning record. (I don’t remember if he finally did before he left.) My concern is that he would be able to right the ship, but never bring it to the level of winning the conference championship and a bowl game against a good team. While we would have winning seasons, we would never be in a position to be in the conversation when the major conferences bring in new teams.

    • Golden was a bad gameday coach here and at Miami. Like Collins, he picked friends as coordinators including Mark Donofrio, who was horrendous. One would hope that he’s learned something through the years.

  3. “Lowly Rutgers”…if you go back to a comment I made over the summer (when you were calling Collins your “home run hire”), you may remember me saying something along the lines of, “You haven’t played a game yet under your new staff. You’re acting like some sort of established power…like any non blue-blood program, you’re one bad hire away from the edge of the cliff.” Rutgers has a ways to go yet after the program was driven into the ground but we’re starting to at least scratch and crawl forward again…what direction does TU seem to be moving in? Too early to answer but I guess it’s not as easy as it looked in July.

    Joe P.

    • I think we’re trending positive. Our last 3 losses have been by either 7 pts or less and were all winnable had the coaches out in Frank Nitule at QB (which we found out last week). RU is still “lowly rutgers” and that loss to EMU look even worse now that they’ve lost to NIU.

      • Your season depends on the Navy game. Lose that game and you’re likely on your way to 7(+) losses and no bowl, and with the schedule you’re playing this year I don’t know how you can possibly spin that positive. You guys lost some key guys from last year but still had a fairly large amount of starters back and aren’t exactly playing a meat grinder of a schedule.

        Joe P.

      • Totally agree, Joe. In the 34-10 win over a Navy team that appeared unbeatable at the end of last season (even Mike Francesca said Navy was the most interesting and exciting team in college football the week BEFORE the Temple game; funny he did not mention Navy or Temple after that) starters were Armstead (RB), Sharga (FB), Kirkwood and Bryant (wide receivers); 3 of 5 offensive linemen, Martin (DE), Webb and Dogbe (DTs) and Freddy Booth-Lloyd (NG). Another DL who did not play last year (Sharif Finch) was a starter (and star) of the 2015 team and 3 of the 5 defensive backs. This is a coaching failure of unmitigated proportions and the kind I had hoped Temple would avoid. It already is a failure because this team had 10x more talent than UConn and about 2x more talent than Army.

  4. Yes, I was the one who firstsuggested that Collins needs a “2×4 upside the head.” But who is going to pick up that 2×4 and swing it? I’ve also been the one reminding people that Golden, as a not very good game-day coach, never beat a winning MAC team regardless of how he resurrected the program (which he did do). He would not be my choice either for that reason alone.
    Right now my only hope is that I saw a few changes in the last game (but unfortunately some stupid calls that lost the game also) and maybe the coaches will do some more tweaking. I see Navy, Cincy and maybe Tulsa as beatable by the Owls, but the stupid calls and bad clock management have to get better.

  5. Does any one know if Temple has a buyout clause in Collins contract ? And if so, what is the amount of the buyout .

    • Unfortunately, I know a BOT member who said the university gave Collins a guaranteed $2 million per five-year contract with NO (zero) buyout clause. That means the uni is on the hook for a full $10 million should it fire Collins. More interesting is the fact that Baylor paid Temple nothing to buy out Rhule’s contract. To me, if it wanted Rhule so bad, it should have paid Temple $7 million so Temple could afford to hire a big-time coach and not a coordinator.

  6. Golden Rhule 1. Bowl games interfere with recruiting. Golden Rhule 2. Shine your shoes, comb your hair, hit the road, and sell what their buying. Golden Rhule 3. Good recruits win games and get you noticed.

  7. And why oh why do the Temple higherups give out these kinds of contracts – and to coordinators to boot? I mean, what the hell is the matter with them? At 2 mil a year, Temple should be in control!

  8. Mike, agree with you last year on your Navy win being very strong/ impressive. I’m not surprised at your struggles at QB this year (you don’t just replace a 4-year starter without a drop-off) but with what you had coming back, it’s kind of surprising you’re at 3-5. The season isn’t lost with some very winnable games left for you but I think it all hinges on your Navy game. Agreed that you definitely lost UConn and probably Army due to coaching. I respect Edsall’s coaching ability but they got nothing on offense. Army is disciplined and playing much more sound (not fumbling nearly as much as they used to) but I read that the combined records of the teams they beat is something like 10-28. When I saw that score at 28-21 with under a minute left and Army basically on their side of the field, I figured the game was over and didn’t even realize you had lost until the next day.

    I thought TU would have a drop off this year but figured 6-6 was the floor. I don’t know how your staff spins possibly not making a bowl returning about 2/3-3/4 of a conference title team with games against UMass, ECU (whose defense would likely have trouble stopping a slowly rolled beach ball), 1-AA nova, a beatable Army team, UConn, a shaky Tulsa team and a Cincy program that has been cratering for the past 3 seasons.

    Joe P.

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