The late great Arthur Ashe once said it best: “You are only as good as your last game.”
I don’t know if Ashe said it first, but some versions of it have been quoted by players and coaches since and I have not found anyone who said it before Ashe.
The last game Temple football played was a 56-27 loss to Duke in the Independence Bowl. That was not Temple football by any means for a number of reasons and left a lingering feeling of bad breath on the mouths of anyone who cares anything about the program.
It’s like having that taste and not being able to find a bottle of Listerine in any store and living with it. The Owls do not play football again until August against Bucknell but does anyone really believe knocking the snot out of the Bison will do anything to eliminate the memory of Duke?
I certainly don’t and you can make that reason No. 1,267 why playing Bucknell is a bad idea for Temple and, really, playing any FCS opponent is a bad idea for a league trying to establish a football identity like the AAC. Temple probably should have scheduled a P5 road game for its opener, but that’s a debate for a different day.
Moving back to the Temple aspect of this argument, that’s why it’ll be a long time to wash out the taste of Duke. Maybe three weeks later.
You can talk “take-this-one-game-at-a-time” thing all you want but that’s for the coaches and the players.
For the fans, it’s different and should be.
That’s why Temple fans have to circle Sept. 14, 2019 on their calendar. A fired-up Maryland team comes to town to try to take revenge on the Owls for suffering a 35-14 embarrassment. Beat a Big 10 team in consecutive seasons and that will show me something. Remember the last time Maryland came to town it was fired up to win after a 38-7 loss to Temple in 2011 (one of the Terps said “we took last year personal”) and beat the Owls, 36-27. So beating a P5 team in revenge mode and we will finally be able to get the taste of Duke out of our mouths.
It was a particularly bitter pill to swallow because Duke’s best player, the highest-rated NFL prospect on both teams, decided to play with his brothers one last time and the two highest-rated Temple players said “nah, I’m good” and were seen more than once laughing on the sidelines as their brothers got pounded.
Not a good look to take into the offseason.
Now, Temple goes forward at full strength and should be back to the Temple football we all know and love by mid-September.
At least that should be the plan.
Listerine shots for all in the post-game tailgate.
Sunday: A Contrast of Styles
Tuesday: The 2020 Draft and Temple