FIU-Temple: No Distractions This Time


For the third-straight year, Temple will enter its bowl game as a favorite.

When the Owls take the field in a week and a night at Tropicana Stadium (8 p.m., ESPN), they will be a touchdown favorite over a Florida International team that has two more wins than they do.

Last year, the Owls were 14.5 favorites over Wake Forest (and lost by eight) and two years ago they were 1.5 favorites over Toledo and lost, 32-17.

One name got in the way of the Owls hoisting a bowl trophy at the end of each season and he did not even play in either game.

Matt Rhule.

The first loss, which Rhule took blame for, came as a result of going easy on his team, the expense of giving them a “reward” for a 10-win season. After that game, Rhule said he would not pull back the reins if he had another bowl chance. That could be a long time coming given his 1-11 year at Baylor and the sanctions he faces there going forward.

The second loss, which he did not take blame for, resulted from Rhule’s decision to recruit for Baylor and take most of the guts of the Temple staff with him. While that staff was on the field for the 34-26 loss to Wake, their hearts and minds were in Waco. The defensive coaches alone missed eight practices and that had to contribute to Wake’s 31-7 halftime lead.

Now this is the first “distraction-free” bowl for the Owls if new coach Geoff Collins has learned from Rhule’s first bowl experience. Vegas, which is seldom wrong, has the Owls as a solid seven-point favorite this time and, all things being equal, it should be the Owls hoisting that trophy to end the season.

Are all things equal, though?

Kirk Herbstreit picked FIU and mentioned Butch Davis as a reason on ESPN’s Game Day on Saturday. He might have something there.

In Davis, the Panthers (8-4) have a master tactician who was good enough with a clipboard in his hands to win a national championship at Miami. Will he be able to fill in enough X’s and O’s to tic-tack-toe a first-year coach who many feel is still feeling his way?

The answer comes in eight days.

Friday: A Shocking Admission

Monday: The Padre Pio Factor

Wednesday: Bowl Preview

Friday: Bowl Analysis

Christmas: Season Analysis



7 thoughts on “FIU-Temple: No Distractions This Time

  1. As things turned out in Waco this season Rhule may as well have stayed and coached Temple thru the bowl game with a full staff. His season there couldn’t have been worse (altho he supposedly got some needed recruiting done I guess). If Temple plays the way they did in the last couple games they have a good chance for a win. Go Owls.

    • Major kudos to Scott Frost for staying with his kids in the bowl game and Sonny Dykes for coaching SMU in its bowl game. Rhule didn’t feel he could coach the kids who got him the Waco salary. Sad.

      • As much of a fan of MR as I am (and think there’s a chance he might return post-Baylor), I have to agree he could have and should have found a way to coach the bowl game. Maybe Baylor insisted he start immediately. But so what?!! They win against Wake and they might have TU’s highest year-end ranking as well as most wins in school history. Essentially making it arguably best TU team ever. Those other coaches mentioned above stuck by the players that got the big paychecks. MR probably had the leverage with Baylor to stay thru to the bowl game.

  2. the recruiting rules drive the timing for end of year coaching changes. first things first, finish the football year on the field, worry about the next year after the bowl game…, unfortunately the NC2A doesn’t see it that way….,

    win your conference, win your bowl game, and finish in the Top 25 remains the golden triangle

  3. FIU may have 2 more wins than the Owls but we all know Temple should have had 2-3 more wins than they did. It comes down to coaching, not players, so let’s hope CC has a solid game plan and game day success to fulfill that 1 TD favoring. TU needs a win and they have an opponent to get it done. Go Owls.

  4. I’m 0-3 at Temple Bowl games, so I won’t be jinxing them this year.

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