Three Identical Strangers: TU, NIU, Miami


Hopefully, Rod Carey keeps the Cherry helmets this fall

Nothing I see on TV usually blows my mind.

Like everything, there are always exceptions to the rule and the recent CNN documentary “Three Identical Strangers” falls into that category. Without getting deep into it, it was about three young men separated at birth on July 12, 1961, intentionally by an adoption agency as a case study for the effects of nurturing versus naturing.

The college football version of that show is far less intense and intrusive but the study elements are close this fall. The case studies will be separated not by 100 miles or less but by about 500 miles West and 1,000 miles south of Philadelphia.

Proven coaching or talent. Young, unproven coaching or talent.

The question in the fall of 2019 will be: Given the somewhat equal talent in three separate settings does a proven head coach produce a more desirable result (winning) than a hot assistant?

My theory is that Temple football dodged two big bullets over the last decade, separated by one letter.

Daz and Diaz.

Had Steve Addazio stayed at Temple, the Owls probably would have tapped out at the seven-win mark, a number that has concerned the powers-that-be at Boston College so much that they worked in an eight-win minimum into his contract extension this season.

Manny Diaz would have been a college football version of one-and-done but never got to that point. Temple did not need to hire another head coach for one year only to see him leave because, at some point, the instability has to take a toll on recruiting.

“You don’t want to go there,” the bad guys will begin to tell recruits, “they change coaches every year.”

That begs the question: Why can’t Temple have both excellence and stability?

Rod Carey, who by any account, gave Northern Illinois that for the last six years, shows a lot of signs of being the real deal. If the Owls dodged a bullet with Daz and Diaz, they may have the benefit of getting a lot of ammunition from Carey for their weapons.

The lab experiment for this theory will take place in three places: Philadelphia, DeKalb, and Miami.

Only one of the schools hired a proven winner as a head coach. The others took a flyer on unproven assistants as Baltimore Ravens’ running back coach Thomas Hammock was hired by NIU and Diaz went back to Miami.

Interestingly enough, all three schools return 14 starters from the 2018 squads. If the Owls are able to record the most wins of the three schools, the data won’t be complete on this experiment but will certainly point to a brighter future in Philadelphia than those other towns.

From a talent standpoint versus their respective leagues, there is not much to chose from the three experimental samples.

By December, someone should be able to write a pretty good case study.

Tuesday: Dear Rod Letter

Thursday: Who’s Coming and Going?

Saturday: Signing Day No. 2

Tuesday (2/12): Plugging Holes



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