Most Temple fans have a pretty good handle on what to expect in the American Athletic Conference part of the season schedule.
Houston, Memphis and Navy are always solid and UCF and USF have the kind of speed to run away and hide.
There are, though, other variables to consider this year in the league as UCF has a new coach and, as we found out last year with Temple, a new coach does not necessarily get the same results out of pretty much similar talent.
Most Temple fans, though, do not know what to expect of our two new scheduling buddies, Boston College and Maryland. Both schools deserve a lot of credit for giving Temple a home-and-home and both schools should be right up there as the two best foes the Owls face this year.
The Steve Addazio-led Eagles should be 2-0 with home games against UMass and Holy Cross to open up, but their Temple game gets stuck smack in the middle of a trip to Purdue (Sept. 22) and an Oct. 6 visit to Wake Forest. The Eagles, though, should make another bowl again and you’ve got to figure they have the home date on Sept. 29 against Temple penciled in as a must-win on the way to the bowl. It’s up to the Owls to get the erasers out but it won’t be easy as the Eagles return almost every key contributor. Running back A.J. Dillon is one of the best in the AAC, a proven 1,000-yard rusher in a Power 5 league. Other stars are defensive end Zach Allen, wide receiver Kobay White and tight end Tommy Sweeney. Their losses are their two cornerbacks, so the Owls probably would be wide to plan to attack those two with a steady diet of passes to Ventell Bryant and Isaiah Wright.
The Terrapins’ 2017 football team was a mirror image to this season’s Temple basketball team, peaking in the first month of the season by beating a Texas team that later beat USC. That alone should get Temple’s attention but D.J. Durkin’s squad should be a handful despite their 4-8 record of a year ago. Former Imhotep wide receiver D.J. Moore declared for the draft, so that leaves a pass-catching void but Taivon Jacobs has received a medical redshirt and will be back. He’s got Bryant-level talent. Quarterback Max Bortenschlager is a mouthful but should also be a handful after throwing for 1,131 yards, 10 touchdowns and five interceptions. The Terps have an all-star coaching staff with offensive coordinator Matt Canada and defensive coordinator (as well as safeties coach) Chuck Heater. If you think the Patenaude vs. Heater matchup is a toss-up, you haven’t been paying attention. Canada and Heater should be able to elevate whatever talent level Maryland has now, but, from a pure athlete standpoint, Boston College should be the more impressive team of the two Power 5 teams on the schedule.
Wednesday: The Bullhorn Lady and Rittenhouse Square