Very few teams in the American Conference, heck, college football, had a stranger postseason than Temple.
First, Geoff Collins announces how excited he was for his team to play Duke in the Independence Bowl then, the next day exits stage right for Atlanta and Georiga Tech.
Then, athletic director Pat Kraft announces a national search and settles on a guy whose dad was Mayor of Miami and then, not surprisingly, the kid leaves for Miami about 18 days later.
Then some normalcy returned in the form of a proven FBS winning head coach (52-30) in Rod Carey. Yet, spring practice was an extension of the strangeness as the Owls did not have a spring “game” for the first time and had virtually no hitting in those 15 practices that extended from mid-March through mid-April.
Temple is back to full hitting now in summer camp.
Just because Temple had a weird offseason doesn’t mean the rest of the conference was immune to the elements.
- UCF, the favorite, replaced its Heisman Trophy candidate quarterback with a big name, Brandon Wimbush, from Notre Dame. Darriel Mack Jr., the backup who led UCF past Memphis in the title game broke his ankle in a non-football workout so it looks like this is Wimbush’s job to keep. Wimbush began last season as Notre Dame’s starter and has a lot to prove after being benched after the third game of last season. He passed for only 719 yards and threw six interceptions as opposed to four touchdowns. In 2017, he passed for 1,870 yards with 16 touchdowns and six interceptions.
- Houston did what some was unthinkable for a Group of 5 school, hiring a fairly successful Power 5 head coach, Dana Holgerson, to replace Major Applewhite. This could work.
- Tulane’s Willie Fritz has committed to a hybrid triple-option–closer to what Paul Johnson did at Georgia Tech than what Ken Niumatalolo is doing with Navy–that features more downfield passing. It caused the league numerous problems the last year and his team figures to be even more improved this season.
- UConn not only exited the league–it will compete as a lame-duck this season–but virtually committed football suicide by going independent. The Huskies need only to look a few miles North to Massachusetts to see what that holds for their future.
- Meanwhile, Cincinnati has the most “stable” year as the Bearcats not only beat Virginia Tech in the Military Bowl, they got to keep their head coach, Luke Fickell, who was one of the final two candidates for the West Virginia job. They also have Temple at home in what should be one of the games of the year in the AAC and benefit from four-straight No. 1 AAC recruiting classes.
If Cincy doesn’t win the league this year, a lot of people will be surprised but that’s why they play the games.
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