At first glance, a matchup between an 8-4 Temple team and a 6-6 North Carolina team looks like a pretty even game.
Vegas agrees and has set the line with the Tar Heels as a 5.5-point favorite, which is, by any calculation, a competitive game.
It still might be.
A closer look reveals that this is probably the best bowl opponent Temple has ever faced. Better than FIU in 2017 and Wyoming in 2011 without argument. You might get some folks thinking the 6-6 teams of Wake Forest (2016) and Duke (2018) were just as good.
I don’t agree.
Not, though, since the 1979 California squad that was 6-5 have the Owls faced a team this good. Consider this: Of the six losses. UNC could have won every single game. In fact, this team might be better than that Cal team that lost to unbeaten USC by 10 and beat four winning (then) PAC-10 squads. (Err, the PAC-10 was way better then than the PAC-12 is now).
The Tar Heels lost to Clemson by one, the only team to give Clemson a game.
They beat a South Carolina team that beat Georgia and lost two games in overtime to bowl teams (Virginia Tech and Pitt). The other losses were by a touchdown to Wake Forest and Virginia.
If the Owls win this game, and that’s a big if, it’s going to be a slugfest until the end. It’s pretty clear from these scores that UNC is not going anywhere in this game and, if it’s going to be a blowout, the Owls are the vulnerable team (UCF and SMU come to mind) and not the Tar Heels.
That said, a good game plan will attack the weaknesses of your opponent and accentuate your own strengths.
In bowl games, Rod Carey is 0-6 with such game plans. He might want to reconsider what he did those previous half-dozen times and do the exact opposite.
Monday: The Other AAC Bowls
Wednesday: The Newest Dirty Word
Friday: The Early Signing Period
Monday (12/23): All-Americans
Christmas Day: Off
Friday: Game Day
Saturday: Game Analysis
Monday (12/30): Total Season Review
New Year’s Day: Return to Twice a Week Post Schedule