Temple-Tulane: Stayin’ Alive

The classic 70s music booming from the boombox of one the best post-game tailgates (of many good ones) was from the Bee Gees yesterday.

“Stayin’ Alive.”

Not “staying” alive. Stayin’ alive.

“You know what?
I’ve never lost
to Cincinnati.”
_ James McHale,
a starting tackle
with the Owls the
past four seasons

Can’t go wrong with 1970s or 1980s music at any tailgate, pre- or post-game.

Kudos to that boomer for his boombox because no song was more appropriate for the set of circumstances facing the Temple football Owls now.

The situation has narrowed down to this: Temple stayed alive for what would probably be the most improbable conference title ever with a 29-21 win over a very good Tulane team.

Screenshot 2019-08-02 at 11.21.00 PM

A win over Cincy on Saturday night makes this beautiful moment a realistic possibility once again.


Improbable because has a conference champion ever lost 63-21 to another team from the same conference in the regular season? As Donovan McNabb might utter: “I would say no.”

But we’re getting ahead of ourselves here. The point is it’s not THAT far ahead of ourselves. Just less than a week now.

Goodbye to the few Tulane fans who made a lot of noise from their super box. They weren’t very original as “Get that ball back” seemed to be the only rhythmic cheer they could muster.

The Temple fans in the cheap seats below turned around and waved goodbye (Shaun Bradley style, Cincy, 2018) to them a few times and, to their credit, the Tulane fans in the not-so-cheap seats goodnaturedly waved back when it was apparent they lost.

Goodbye, and good luck.

Really, because if those fans make enough noise and come up with more original cheers in New Orleans next week, the Green Wave can do Temple a huge favor by knocking off UCF. (We suggest DEE-FENSE, DEE-FENSE and Let’s GO TU-LANE for starters.)

Tulane is a very good team so that’s not impossible.

Maybe not even improbable.

Screenshot 2019-11-16 at 9.10.20 PM

In order to beat Cincy, got to bring those rushing attempts and rushing yards up to 54 or so and 200 yards. Temple isn’t even trying to run the ball this year and it’s puzziling.

Should Temple travel to Cincy on that same day and beat the Bearcats for the fifth-straight season, all the Owls would have to do is hold serve against UConn to earn a trip to Memphis for the whole ball of wax. “You know what?” former Temple offensive tackle James McHale told me on the subway on the way home. “I’ve never lost to Cincinnati.”

McHale made a very good point about pride and tradition. Current Temple players: Do not let yourselves be the first class in five years who do because winning is imperative if the Owls are to have a chance at grabbing their second chip in four years. They are standing in the way and you are the way. Does anyone believe the Owls DON’T have a chance to win in Cincy? No. Does anyone believe Cincy is going to win in Memphis? I guess Cincy fans do, but I don’t. Temple must take care of its business first and the reward could be substantial.

After losing by consecutive blowouts in the middle of the season, that would be something.

Cue the Patsy Cline song “Crazy” for the post-game UConn tailgate should that happen but that’s from way back in 1961 so we might need another boomer box. A little Electric Slide action (Marcia Griffith, 1990) would also be nice for the playlist.

It’s up to the Owls getting by with only a little help from their friends (1968, Joe Cocker) to make it happen.

Tuesday: Fizzy’s Corner


22 thoughts on “Temple-Tulane: Stayin’ Alive

  1. Mike, Cinncy has to lose twice for the Owls to win the division. They currently have no conference losses and TU has two. That’s why the collapses of ECU and USF were killers for TU.

    • Twice…us and Memphis
      Would have also wished usf would have helped but there is still a viable path

      • Assuming that Temple wins out and Cincinnati loses to Memphis, a UCF loss to either Tulane or USF guarantees Temple a conference championship because Temple would win a tie against Cincinnati because of a head-to-head win. But if UCF wins out with that scenario, it would leave a 3-way tie with three teams all having a 6-2 conference record.

        If the AAC has the same tie-breaker procedure in place as last year, I think that had Cincinnati lost to either ECU or USF it would end up hurting Temple by knocking the Bearcats out of that hypothetical 3-way tie and left the Owls tied with UCF, a tie which Temple would lose because of the head-to-head loss.
        If Temple, Cincinnati and UCF all end the season at 6-2 in the conference, I think it would come down to tiebreaker rule 8.2-C-f, “combined highest winning percentage against all common non-divisional Conference opponents.”  Temple is 2-0 against Memphis and Tulane, Cincinnati would be 2-1 against Houston, Tulsa and Memphis, and UCF would be 2-1 against Houston, Tulsa and Tulane.  Since 1.000 > 0.667, Temple would be the champion. 

        I think it comes down to how you interpret “all common non-divisional Conference opponents” – common to all three teams, or common to at least two of the three teams.  I definitely feel that “all” means “all” and the second interpretation should apply.

        Click to access 2018_Tiebreaker_Policies.pdf

      • Three-way tie-breaker procedures are almost as poorly worded as the 2d Amendment’s “”A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.” I suspect that Founding Fathers meant “people only in a well-regulated militia deserve the right to keep and bear arms” but we will never know. Subsequent rulings have led to the interpretation that every Tom, Dick and Harry can have a gun. Rant over but the AAC ruling also leaves a lot to interpretation. Let’s hope it comes down to Cincy and Temple tied. That’s a lot clearer.

  2. Tulane fans were a great thing to see and hear, why not enjoy visitors from far away ?
    We were sitting near that action also and could see those dozen or so Tulane fans in their box, cheering as Tulane made it close in the 4th. These people are not to be confused with NY and North Jersey visitors here, who I maintain or rude just by birth there.

    My point, security should have thrown out a few (TU) fans in all that.
    We were within ear-shot of 1 or 2 very loud and rude people who used EXCESSIVE profanity while yelling at the Tulane people.
    Screaming yes Screaming out ‘F U’ over and over has it’s limits, hell I used bad language all the time, but not ‘In a movie theater’ so to say.

    They should have been removed, as this story will travel, as another stain on Temple and Philla fans, as they travel back to NO.
    As I remarked to my guests there, Geeze we Temple fans don’t cheer much at all. Do we ?

  3. My takeaway from the game is that Carey and his OC are still too enamored by the pass. First, they started the game with seven straight passes. Then, when it was time to put the game away they got a couple of first downs by running the ball, got about five yards on the ensuing first down on run plays, and then inexplicably threw the ball on second down. Those passes were not completed, making the third downs tougher than they should have been. O-lines thrive on the successful running the ball especially when it’s working. It shows that the individual linemen are winning their individual battles. Passing the ball especially without play action, ruins that rhythm. In any event, the discovery that the team has viable tight-ends was a very good thing, about ten games too late, but still a very good thing. .

    • Hard to fathom – The Temple offense was better under Patenaude, both in points and total ypg…., this current OC is a magician, he made #2 disappear in thin air for 10 straight games.

      The Cincy game will be over by halftime one way or another. Temple has led at the half in all 7 wins. Down at the half in all 3 Ls.

      Cincy will be jacked for what could be their last home game of the year.., maybe the Owls will catch them looking ahead to the Memphis game

  4. The Owls will not beat Cincy if they don’t reduce their penchant for bone-head personal-foul penalties. Tulane stayed alive (in part) on Saturday courtesy of (at least) three, third-down penalties gifted by Temple’s otherwise stalwart defense. Successful teams do not give up more than 100 yards in penalty yards. Our single-digit defensive players talked a lot during the game; they need to let actions, not words, speak on the field.

  5. I’ll get this out of the way first off: those 3 unsportsmanlike conduct penalties are not only inexusable but cost us getting the ball back when we had forced punts and gave them 15 extra yards. I know our guys are jacked up (maybe too much?) but that crap hurts the team and needs to stop.
    Now, the O did a nice job and the D bent but didn’t break enough to lose the game. Roche is just flat out, somethin’ else! We can beat Cincy if everything comes together. Even if we don’t get to the championship game, 9 wins would be great – that Buffalo loss being this season’s unexplainable screwup.

  6. Wonder if others who have a subscription to the Inquirer received a sports section with no story about the Tulane-TU football game. Although the cover of the sports section said an article about the game was on D-2, in my edition it republished the story about Rowan and Wesley that was in the Saturday edition. I do not believe that this was a mistake. That rag is the worst. By the way, feel a little sadness for Matt Rhule and Baylor (just a little though because he should still be here). The loss almost mirrored Rhule’s last ESPN Game Day appearance; had the lead late, your defense collapsed and the opponent scored in the last minutes, and hopes for a win were thwarted with an interception. Heisman comes down to Hurts and Burrow.

    • When it was 28-3, I thought it was over and the USF-Cincy game had my full attention. Then I saw the score scroll to 31-31 and I thought it was a mistake, so I turned that TV on again. I would have liked to have seen both Baylor and Minny win yesterday because this system won’t expand to 8 teams unless multiple unbeaten Power 5 teams are left out of the playoffs multiple years. Sadly, that won’t happen this cycle.

  7. The newspaper screwup was not duplicated on the electronic version. Penn’s game write up was left out by that as well.

    Echo others commenting on dumb personal fouls. What are they thinking about? Reminds me of old time Temple from the dark days.

    • Carey said in the post-game that it would have been a much wider margin of victory “if we got out of our own way” with the personal foul penalties. I hope he addresses it in team meetings as well but this seems to be a recurring problem.

  8. Always happy about a win. Concerns about the OC and HC growing week by week. The QB has regressed, as has the offense as a whole. Team discipline is not a strong point based on the number of dumb penalties. Need to be much better in these areas to beat Cincy.

    • Russo was a 57% passer last year with a 13:10 TD:INT rate.

      This year he’s 58.9% with an 18:10 TD:INT rate. I don’t really think the kid is much more than just a guy, but I don’t know that he has “regressed” to a point you can lay it on a new coach. He has bad feet, a low release point for a tall guy and stares down the primary, especially on the back side plays. I think this is just who he is.

      • He finished with 14 tds and 14ints last year despite missing three games. He’s on track for around 22/12. PJ’s best season was 20/8 and that was his first

      • Thing is that Russo makes some great throws pretty frequently. Some of his interceptions stem from his ego which tells him that he can complete the pass by drilling the ball even when the receiver is double covered. Some of them also stem from his teammates deflecting well thrown passes, his failure to read the receiver, and the failure to throw a lob instead of a bullet pass. Moreover, his pass completion rate would be several points higher if you count all of the dropped passes. Finally, he’s in the wrong offense because he cannot or will not run the ball. In today’s college football, your team is at a distinct disadvantage if the QB can’t run.

      • 3 key dropped passes at buffalo and 9 at SMU, all perfectly delivered. He could have run down the field and handed it off and the delivery could not have been better.

      • Right on.

  9. Happy with the win for two reasons 1)The Uniform was beautiful and it’s nice to win and look good 2)The -6 for Tulane was such incredible disrespect to Temple I’m glad Vegas had to eat their lunch for once.

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