One of the best sports stories coming out on the internet last week was by Pete Thamel of Yahoo Sports detailing how the shared experience between Matt Rhule and Ryan Day at Temple made them two of the best coaches in college football today.
In it, a photo of a silver-plated Ernest Shackleton quote above Al Golden’s office said it all: “Men Wanted for hazardous journey, small wages, bitter cold, long months of complete darkness, constant danger, safe return doubtful, honor and recognition in case of success.”
That pretty much sums up Saturday’s chore for the Temple Owls. High risk, great reward ahead. The journey–a chartered jet–might be the easiest part. Certainly, the cost of living adjustment the school pays football players qualifies as small wages and the “wintry mix” forecast fits the bitter cold promise. (Although the Owls have played in colder weather as recently as last Saturday.) It’s a long three hours (not months) of somewhat darkness (night game) and constant danger and “honor and recognition in case of success.”
A safe return is pretty much a given but the key part of the sentence to me is “honor and recognition in case of success.”
IF … and that’s a big IF
.. the Owls win, their chances
of winning the AAC East go up
from, say, 10 percent to 90
percent. That’s a big jump.
That’s all the team could have
hoped for prior to the season
IF … and that’s a big IF .. the Owls win, their chances of winning the AAC East go up from, say, 10 percent to 90 percent. That’s a big jump. That’s all the team could have hoped for prior to the season. That really exceeds what we could have hoped for as Temple football fans. Plus, if Tulane uses that on-campus Yulman Stadium advantage–where it is also unbeaten this season–to take down UCF, the Owls enter the final weekend needing only a Cincy loss at Memphis (duh) and a win over hapless UConn to earn a championship date at Memphis.
It’s a more likely scenario than a crazy one but the first step is going 1-0 this weekend.
The hazardous part is this: Cincinnati is a double-digit favorite and is 6-0 at Nippert Stadium this season. Temple had won eight-straight games at Lincoln Financial Field before losing to UCF. If UCF can do it at Temple, the Owls can do it at Nippert.
Put it this way: Cincinnati, in its most recent two games, needed to go to the final play to beat a pair of teams, ECU and USF, that Temple beat by double digits.
Asking the Owls to do this is not asking much considering where the program came from when that Shackleton quote was placed on the Edberg Olson wall. They did it as a program in the Al Golden days and they can do it as a team on Saturday night. The journey won’t be easy and the task will be hard, but the reward in case of success will be more than worth it.
Saturday: Game Night
Sunday: Game Analysis