Navy-TU: Ships Sailing In Opposite Directions


A year  ago, the late, great Wayne Hardin gave the Owls good luck with this coin flip. He will be honored tonight.

Almost a year ago at this time, the sports talk show host with the highest ratings in the country was singing the praises of Navy’s football team.

“The one team in college football that intrigues me most is Navy,” said Mike Francesa of WFAN radio in New York. “That’s the most exciting team in my mind and, to me, that would be the one team that could throw a monkey wrench into this whole playoff thing.”

Fast forward only a couple of weeks until the AAC championship game and Francesa was still singing Navy’s praises.


The weather has been the only good thing so far about this Temple season.

“Oh my God, they just scored 75 points on SMU,” Francesa said in an interview with Gary Daniels, a CBS sports network college football analyst. “They play Temple this week in the league championship game. I don’t know how good Temple is … “

“Temple is pretty darn good,” Daniels said, interrupting The Sports Pope.

“They better be to stay with that team,” Francesa said. “I’m going to be watching that game for sure.”

After Temple beat Navy, 34-10, to win the title, I placed my little Radio Shack transistor job—the only one that can get WFAN inside the building—on my desk at work hoping to hear Francesa sing the praises of Temple football before his vast radio audience.

Not a peep on the first day or the second day or the third. Temple was never given props at all.

Navy lost, so that was a subject Francesca conveniently dropped and went onto the next big thing that interested him, like the NFL.

“Temple punched us in the mouth,” said Navy head coach Ken Niumatalolo after that game. “Usually, we are the ones punching other people in the mouth and we didn’t respond.”

Tonight (8 p.m., Lincoln Financial Field), Navy gets the rematch they have wanted a year for and they have the boxing gloves primed and ready. Wayne Hardin will be honored and, win or lose, that will be the highlight of the night for Temple fans.


The coaches keeping Bryant and Sharga on the field would be nice for a change.

Presumably, Temple will punch back but, on paper, at least, any hope of an upset here appears to be a ship that sailed a long time ago. The speed bags Temple has been working against don’t appear to be as big or menacing as the ones Navy has been punching.

The two teams have combined for four losses in the last few Saturdays but that’s where the comparison ends. These are two ships headed in opposite directions. Nick Sharga, who was so instrumental in that championship win, doesn’t even see the field for long stretches for this team. Ventell Bryant, whose touchdown catch started a good afternoon on offense for those Owls, seems to be an afterthought for these Owls. Blame it on the offensive coordinator all you want, but the CEO (Geoff Collins) bears ultimate responsibility.

Temple lost to a lousy UConn team, 28-24, and an Army team, 31-28, that the Owls had about 10x as much physical talent as two weeks ago. The blood for the scene of both crimes leads right back to the coaching offices at $17 million Edberg-Olson Complex.

During that same time frame, Navy lost to a great Memphis team, 30-27, and an even better UCF team, 31-21.

One of the more unabashedly optimistic followers on the Temple Fans Facebook page said “the Owls will NOT make  another service academy bowl eligible.”

To use another nautical term, I hate to torpedo his optimism but that assertion just doesn’t hold water. Right now, hours before the game, as far as an upset goes, it appears these are two ships sailing in opposite directions.

As a certain Commander-In-Chief might say: #Sad.

Friday: Game Analysis


14 thoughts on “Navy-TU: Ships Sailing In Opposite Directions

  1. I have a feeling that Navy will beat the snot out of the Owls tonight….just a feeling. They are here for payback on a beating they took last year that these Temple coaches weren’t even part of. They don’t know the importance. Hope I’m wrong.

  2. That reporter not following up when Temple beat (crushed) Navy last year is a typical Temple screwing. Unfortunately Temple is getting screwed again this season by their own coaches. But, I hope you’re wrong too, Brian

  3. the inside blitz will disrupt Nutile’s timing.., this sets up as Temple’s worse loss of the year.., the L at Army in OT crushed Collins, took him three days to get over it..,

    the coaches have lost this team, seniors are dishearten by what should have been, and have displayed little in the leadership department

    the 2015 team had many seniors who called each other out on a daily basis, they led and willed the team to victory.., less so from the 2016 team, zilch from this team

    • Looked to me like he lost them real early….kind of like it was over before it began and they knew it. I had made a comment about Collins standing near the locker room door after a loss, looking for hugs and high fives early in the season…campaigning for votes of confidence…hasn’t had it from the players who have been around. Very disappointing.

  4. What? Over? Did you say “over”? Nothing is over until we decide it is! Was it over when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor? Hell no!

    • And it ain’t over now. ‘Cause when the goin’ gets tough
      The tough get goin’!
      Who’s with me?

      Nice AH reference !

  5. Wow….this is what was expected on day 1! Great job Owls!

  6. Got a little nervous on Temple’s next to last possession that the play calling was a little too conservative, 1 first down on that drive and Navy probably doesn’t get that last TD. That being said game wasn’t as close as the final score indicates. And can somebody explain why Nutile wasn’t the starting QB day 1, nice seeing receivers catching passes where they don’t have to break stride

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