Game Day Minus-1: Greatness Within Grasp

The design of this play, from keeping the back in the backfield to occupy the linemen, and putting Isaiah Wright in motion, to the execution, was perfection. 

The Temple sports motto has been for the past five years: Greatness Doesn’t Quit.

No bigger test for the merging of motto and reality on Saturday (3:30, ESPN2) at Dallas against host SMU at Gerald Ford Stadium.

Win, and greatness is at hand and the path to a possible AAC championship is open.

Lose, and just another mediocre-to-good season is probably the best we can hope for.

Greatness sounds a lot better.

Look, winning in college football is a hard thing there are plenty of teams trying to do what Temple is trying to do. This is where the team that preaches the greatness motto must put it into practice.

Screenshot 2019-10-18 at 3.00.41 PM

TV games as an appetizer to the main course (Temple-SMU)

Hopefully, the Temple TUFF motto kicks into gear at SMU. The last time Temple went to SMU, it won in a shootout as P.J. Walker had a great game. The trip before that the Owls had a 28-7 lead and coughed that up before losing.

There are a couple of big differences between then and now, though.

One, SMU is a much better team now than it was on those other two occasions. Two, so is Temple. The teams are very even. Temple beat Georgia Tech by 22 and Georgia Tech beat USF by five. SMU beat USF by 27. Not much else to go by so that’s an indication that the team with the fewest turnovers will win.

The pass/catch combination of Shane Buechele and James Proche will be the toughest the Owls have faced so far but, to me, the best pass defense is putting the quarterback on his backside and that’s the challenge that guys like Ifeanyi Maijeh (pronounced MY JAY), Dan Archibong, Dana Levine, Karamo Dioubate and Zack Mesday are going to have to embrace. Put Buechele on his backside and make him uncomfortable enough and covering Proche and stopping the run becomes that much easier.

For my money, the Temple team that comes to Dallas is far superior to the Tulsa team that came to Dallas two weeks ago and took the Mustangs to double-overtime. That’s on paper, though.

On the field, the Owls will have to prove it.

Greatness might not quit, but you have to want it a lot more than the other guy to achieve it. Talking about it and doing it are two different things and the talk stops at 3:30.

It’s right at hand this week and within reach. Let’s hope the Owls grab it, hold on and take it back to Philadelphia.

Screenshot 2019-10-18 at 3.01.26 PM

TV watching after the Temple game

Predictions: We definitely weren’t great last week but not bad, just mediocre. 3-3 against the spread and straight-up (lost on Maryland, Virginia and Hawaii but won on Ball State, Cincinnati and Indiana). For the season, 24-10 straight up; 20-14 ATS. Going for greatness this week (spreads at time of publication, home teams in CAPS): Tonight, taking SYRACUSE getting 3 at home against Pitt. Haven’t been sold on Pitt since the 17-14 win over Delaware. Saturday: Duke getting the 3 at VIRGINIA; Wake Forest laying the 2 at FLORIDA STATE; East Carolina getting 33 at UCF; BYU getting 6.5 against visiting Boise State; Louisiana Tech laying 1.5 at SOUTHERN MISS and Minnesota laying the 29.5 at RUTGERS.

BUYOUT BOWL: Georgia Tech getting 18 at MIAMI, noon Saturday. Geoff Collins doesn’t win this game but he at least does as well against Manny Diaz as Central Michigan did (a 17-12 loss). That’s where I see this game ending, something like 17-13, Miami. The Hurricanes have had trouble scoring all year so I don’t see them ever covering 18 against anyone.

Sunday: Game Analysis


26 thoughts on “Game Day Minus-1: Greatness Within Grasp

  1. I like Tulane. Teams lose after they play Temple because they’re beat up and tired.

    • It ain’t you. Temple is 24-7 wearing any combination of Cherry and White since 2015 win over Penn State (including that win). When it mixes in another color, it is 3-10. Don’t temp Karma.

  2. TUFF D, Mike, will keep us in this thing. Young Mr. Davis, Isaiah, and a trick play here and there…….and we’ll get the job done. Go Owls!

  3. Of course we want to win this one and stay ranked, but the road to the AAC championship goes through Cincy. We have to beat them to have a chance to win the East regardless of the outcome of the SMU game. I just hope we win them all. Rabbi Dick White

  4. #2 should have caught both balls, but what if the play fails? That is downfall of the strategy, 3 and out in 30 seconds. Give the ball right back and your defense is on the field again…

  5. I’m having flashbacks to the impotent temple teams of yesteryear…
    Please bring me back to 2019

  6. Pitch and catch all day long. This could get ugly.

    • Uniforms look like total shit. We have the best colors in the country and we’re messing around like this? So Geoff Collins of them.

      • Three things:
        1. Cherry and White, Forever.
        2. SMU and UCF want to run 100 plays. Our offensive game plan MUST put a priority controlling the clock. Possession is 9/10ths of the Law. Three and out in 30 seconds is like a turnover.
        3. Press coverage, man to man, means you have to ‘bump’ before you run.

    • Our best guys count for nothing
      Every man of theirs is 10 feet tall
      How is this real?

  7. It’s 10-7 if Wright catches two balls. Don’t want to hear any criticism of Russo after he’s let down like that.

    • We’ve seen plenty stone-handed receivers in the last decade or so; thought we were past that

    • Russo is the single best recruit we’ve got
      Lsu offered him
      Today he hit his best receivers in the hands
      Russo didn’t fail us
      Our culture failed us
      For temple to succeed, temple must find a way to be the toughest indisputably

  8. I’ll say this-
    In the past, we’ve jumped out 28-7 over smu and lost
    Smu isn’t even doing quite as well as that
    Maybe a little reversal of fortune if our guys get tough

  9. Instead of Temple Tuff, we’re getting runs to the edge. Also, they have to throw the ball down field. Upset alert. Cinncy onlu up by 4 against Tulsa.

  10. Pre, post game observations:

    SMU has taught everyone in the conference a big lesson. You can get really good in a short period of time via the portal. SMU should jump Boise St this week or next as the top G5 NY6 contender.

    Carey has to figure out the direction of TUFB. Power vs spread? Three and out in 30 seconds means UCF, Cincy, and Tulane will win big.

    Temple is banged up physically.

    Uniforms matter. What does it say when you wear something other than who you are? Watch highlights of the bowl game vs Duke last year. Who was that team vs Duke?

  11. I know what Arians would do. He’d have em out on the field tomorrow morning running sprints. These kids would cry if that happened today. A total beatdown and the ranked and uniform curses strike again. And the coaches should be running as well because this game plan sucked. I thought I was back in 2015 with Rhule and his penchant for running quick outs.

    • #8 when should we have seen are corners needed help covering him? NEVER because we never did!!!! Always disappointed in Temple loss, but really disappointed in how we got dominated. Before we ever start getting respect nationally, we have to stop these types of games and start winning these types of games. Will need to regroup for another test next week!! PERSONNEL FOUL PENALTIES SHOULD NOT HAPPEN AT END OF GAME!!! Sit them ,ALWAYS AN OWL

    • Yes, you are 100% on target.

      What strikes me most is the relationship between the HC and the QB, Dykes and Buechele.

      Looking back at TUFB history, all the great teams enjoyed a special bond between the HC and the QB.

      Hardin had it with Broomell. AG never found ‘his guy’ at QB. Daz didn’t trust Coyer. MR made PJ ‘his guy’ and eventually trusted him to control the game and win the way he wanted the team to win.

      Collins reluctantly went Russo, but the two never developed a special bond.

      I really don’t think Carey has figured out how he wants to win. In his mind, it’s the spread. Why? Hey, that is college football today, hard to question fashion. But in his heart, it is power football. Why, his DNA as a former OL.

      Temple will win big again when, and only when, Carey has figured out how he wants this team to win. And, finds the guy he trusts to get it done. Right now there does not exist a special bond between Carey and QB.

      Conversely, I watched Baylor beat OSU. There is no doubt Brewer is MR’s guy. He knows it, Brewer knows it, the coaches know it, and the players see and believe it.

  12. as far as the spreads go, I was 5-2-1 (the push was Wake beating FSU by the 2) so I will just throw out the push. Lost on Cuse and Duke but won five straight: ECU covering the 33, Minnesota (Rutgers never covers these ridiculous spreads), Louisiana Tech (a much better team than people realize) , Georgia Tech (Diaz is even worse than Collins, if that’s possible), and BYU not only covering but winning the game OUTRIGHT against unbeaten Boise State.

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