AAC Media Day: Not-so-great expectations

Chris Giannini on 2019 Temple: “That is a really, really good team” .. yet he picks Owls to go 7-5

Anyone arriving at the AAC Football Media Day was greeted with one of those graphic boards usually seen at horse races listing the entrants and their odds.

This time, though, the board read the media preseason polls and the expectations for the season by a poll of so-called experts.

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The expectations for Temple, the winningest team in the league in the last four regular-season years (yes, more wins than UCF, USF, Houston and Memphis from 2015-2018) were not so great. The Owls were picked fourth in the AAC East behind UCF, Cincinnati and USF.

The reasoning was simple.

Temple was losing Geoff Collins and gaining Rod Carey was usually the first thing out of their mouths. The second thing was the loss of a NFL fifth-round draft choice at running back, Ryquell Armstead, who former Houston coach Major Applewhite called “the best running back in our league.”

Sound reasoning for outsiders, not so much for insiders.

Losing Collins, long on schtick and short on substance, was the antonym of the new Temple coach, Carey, a guy long on substance and short on schtick.

 

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The Owls are only 20-25 handoffs from this guy to that guy away from winning an AAC title.

It’s hard from an insider’s point of view–particularly this one–to see that as anything but a net gain for both the organization and its preseason chances.

The running back conundrum is another story, though.

Carey has promised to give the ball to potentially the best running back in the league, Isaiah Wright, a lot more. If Carey has the kind of substance we think he has, he will figure out the best way to do that is making Wright the full-time replacement for Armstead because, as good as Armstead was, Wright has the kind of moves and speed that could make the rest of the league forget about Armstead. It’s a no-brainer because Temple is extraordinarily deep at wide receiver with Branden Mack, Jaden Blue, Randle Jones and Freddie Johnson, among others. Still, the last two Temple head coaches also promised to get the ball into Wright’s hands more but did not deliver on those promises.

Nothing would achieve that goal more than quarterback Anthony Russo sticking that pigskin into Wright’s belly 20-25 times a game and maybe added a few swing passes out of the backfield to give Wright the space to do his thing.

In the middle of July, that, to me, seems to be the key to the season. Ride that horse and the Owls’ odds of moving from fourth to first improve dramatically.

Monday: Practicing What You Preach

Saturday: Plausible Deniability 

Monday (7/29): Up Against The Walls

Saturday (8/3): Game Month

14 thoughts on “AAC Media Day: Not-so-great expectations

  1. Cary has it ‘wright.’ Move Isaiah all over the field, and it’ll be a defensive conundrum. I like Jager at RB also. The key will be the Owls OL, which needs to plow the field so Gardner can plant the ball in the end zone.

  2. Bottom line up front: Temple will be good, other teams in the league have more talent and will be better, the top half of the AAC is very strong.

    Wright is the best RB on the team, he should share the load w/Jager. Temple was really good when two backs shared the load, plus RBs can rarely go an entire season w/o missing a game or two.

    Temple is slow on offense compared the UCF, USF, Cincy, and Memphis. Armstead was the fasted RB in the league last year and certainly faster than Wright. Mack and Blue are possession receivers.

    UCF, USF, Cincy, Memphis, and Tulane have ALL our-recruited Temple the last 3 consecutive yrs. They have more speed and depth.

    MR teams were good because he recruited talented players to fit his type of football. Temple has been in search of an identity the last 3 yrs, coupled with bottom half recruiting equals a fourth place prediction.

    Watch out for Cincy. They have the speed, depth, and QB to beat anyone.

    • But does Cinncy they have a kicker? Just being facetious. I don’t see many of their games being won or lost on the abilities of the kicker. Cinncy’s frosh running back was a beast last year. Can’t see him being anything but great this year.

      • Aresco has done a tremendous job.., he challenged everyone to schedule top P5 programs. Most did, and most realized they had to double-down on recruiting to stay competitive..,

        the AAC has the opportunity this year to make major strides in perception by winning against Stanford, Oklahoma, Ohio St., UCLA, Wisconsin, Ole Miss, Maryland, Ga Tech, etc

        Memphis and UCF should beat Ole Miss and Stanford, respectively.

        Cincy vs OSU reminds me of Temple vs PSU.., the gap is closing, upsets are possible.

        The best thing about the transfer portal is it helps to preclude the perennial powerhouses from sitting on all the 4 and 5 star athletes. Carey and crew snatched a couple of starters this year. Next year they should be able snag three or four starters.

        Russo must start fast and keep the TDs ahead of INTs. Centeio is a star in waiting.

  3. I simply don’t get the love for USF. Strong has shown zero ability the last few seasons to improve a program or a team. They completely fell apart last year and have lost some key guys. The Bulls are 7-5 team at best this year.

    • I understand UCF and Cincy getting picked above Temple, but USF is a real head-scratcher. It’s high time Temple goes down there and wins. It’s not like their homefield advantage is alll that great or even at the Temple level.

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