TU-UNC: So it comes down to this


So it comes down to this.

All those videos of weightlifting in the offseason, two coaching signing ceremonies, practicing in the snow and all the other work comes down to one chance to shine on national television against a Power 5 foe.

Also, if the Owls come
out in anything other
than Cherry and White
in pre-game warmups,
call the bookies and
put all your chips on
blue. Since and including
the historic win over Penn
State, the Owls have played
66 games. They have worn
some combination of Cherry
and White in 51 of those games
where they are 40-11. In the
others, wearing black or gray,
they are 3-12

Temple could not have asked for more than this, a date with a respected ACC team on ESPN behind what by all accounts should be a large Owl crowd.

Nobody in the national media with the exception of AP beat writer Ralph Russo picked the Owls to play for the AAC championship. Even this site, which often dons the Cherry and White-colored glasses, picked Cincinnati to win the East and the Owls to finish third behind UCF.

That’s exactly what happened.

In those cases in the past, the third-place team in an AAC division was “designated for assignment” meaning a Florida bowl against a directional CUSA or Sun Belt foe.

Temple drew a pretty good straw in UNC, a team that not only beat South Carolina (which beat Georgia) but came within a point of knocking off No. 2 Clemson. This is a tall order the Owls will face (high noon, tomorrow, ESPN) but, if they play more like they did against Memphis and Georgia Tech than they did against SMU and UCF, they have a good chance.

Who knows?

Screenshot 2019-12-09 at 8.57.34 AM

I certainly don’t.

If the line is, to quote Mike Missanelli, “telling you something” it is telling you Temple. North Carolina opened as a 5 1/2-point favorite and that line has dropped steadily to 5 and now 4 1/2 points. That’s a lot of money going in Temple’s direction.

History says something else. Temple coach Rod Carey does well against the Big 10 in regular-season games (5-2) but not so much against anybody in bowl games (0-6). He doesn’t have much of a history at all against AAC teams. His predecessor at Northern Illinois, Dave Doreen, the head coach at North Carolina State, just came off a 41-10 loss to the Tar Heels so let’s hope those two are no longer talking. Maybe Carey’s dismal bowl history is because of how he handles the month of extra practices. Or maybe he’s just due for a win.

We will find out in less than 24 hours but my hunch, as it is before every Temple game, is that if the Owls can exploit some of the opponents’ weaknesses and enhance their own strengths, they will come out on top.

North Carolina is 24th in the nation in average passing yards per game behind a future Heisman Trophy candidate in freshman Sam Howell (285 ypg). It is 41st in rushing yardage. If the Owls behind Quincy Roche and company can get to Howell early and often, that mitigates a UNC strength and forces them to use a running game that has been mediocre at best.

Plus, the Owls themselves should run the ball to set up the pass and not vice-versa but that’s a theme we’ve been preaching here for all year but Carey hasn’t listened. Only in the second half after Carey fed Ray Davis, did the Owls have any success in the passing game in a crucial loss to Cincinnati. They threw the ball 26 of the first 34 plays at Cincy and that’s a recipe for disaster. Maybe try running 26 of the first 34 plays tomorrow.

It could not hurt.

Feeding the beast early and often behind Matt Hennessy probably doubles the chances that Anthony Russo is effective in the play-action passing game.

Also, if the Owls come out in anything other than Cherry and White in pre-game warmups, call the bookies and put all your chips on blue. Since and including the historic win over Penn State, the Owls have played 66 games. They have worn some combination of Cherry and White in 51 of those games where they are 40-11. In the others, wearing black or gray, they are 3-12.

When it comes to predicting these unpredictable bowls, the color of the unis could be as viable an indicator as any matchups.

Saturday: Game Analysis

Monday: Season Analysis



29 thoughts on “TU-UNC: So it comes down to this

  1. An injured Harrison Hand makes it +1 for Carolina. But to be fair, Braswell our star DB this season is back and healthy.

    Very fun match-up and about as local as we can expect.

  2. LET’S GO OWL’S !!!!!!

  3. Ron Dickerson, in 1997, beat BC, Pitt, and Rutgers. That was the last time Temple beat 3 P5 teams in a single season.

    Unbelievable, but true. Carey has an opportunity to exorcise the 0-6 bowl record in a big way. Beat 3 P5 teams in a single season for the first time since 1997.

    I wonder if he and the team are even aware

  4. Like the fact that we saw a lot of Temple fans on 301 heading into Annapolis ,hopefully it’s a great showing tomorrow.
    Watching La tech / Miami and really happy that Diaz is not our coach. Miami is brutal

  5. wow, Howell is the best pure prospect Temple has faced all year.

  6. In ability to complete drives looks like it will cost Temple yet another bowl game. We need a big defensive play that leads to points. I do not see the offense scoring more than two touchdowns today and the NC quarterback looks like he might find a way to get about two more big touchdown throws. Roche needs a few sacks to save this game.

  7. I meant “inability”. Anyway, the defense really needs to come up big today. That is how it is looking so far. We are lucky it is only 7-0 right now.

  8. Imagine this, a spread offense with great throwing QB AND ALSO A mobile QB and to be honest we as usual look LOST!!!! HOPE we can adjust at halftime?Inability is correct when it comes to our Offense to complete drives! I will stay hopeful and let’s make this a game!

    • This has become a bit painful to watch. I think there is a psychological issue with Temple and bowl games. A team needs to be put together to study this issue.

  9. Today’s word: Craptacular – when you make it to a bowl and have a chance to show your stuff to the nation but every aspect of the performance is crap…..attitude, enthusiasm, offense, defense, special teams, coaching…..a clean sweep of crap. (except for the Blue kid and those numbers). Here it is in a sentence….Temple football played UNC today and they looked absolutely craptacular!

    • Painful reality. This is certainly a huge improvement from what I saw in the 1990s. However, we want to move forward…😕 We do not want to be satisfied that this is an improvement from the past. At this point I just do not see where the recruits are coming from. I feel like we are stuck at 6 to 8 win seasons and then lose bowl games. A true study group has to sit down and see how Temple can move the program up a notch. This is bowl game that Temple is supposed to win or if they lose it should be a last second type of loss.

      • No one’s talking about the absence of Coach Brown. Looks like Brown and special teams will haunt us going forward. Im not sold on Russo and the OC has got to go.Who knew patenfraude would have better success than this new guy. Classic example of “be careful what you wish for!”

    • UNC is the real deal.

      They have all the ingredients to be super good for the next several years: great coaching staff, a 1st or 2nd round QB, on campus first class stadium, and a Top 20 recruiting class filled w/four stars


      Temple is a top half AAC team, today and tomorrow. And for the foreseeable future, absent dramatic changes.

      Carey could do a few dramatic things to alter the outlook and cheat fate.
      1. Get another OC
      2. Recruit a next level QB
      3. Demand the university commit to an on-campus stadium. (Schiano demanded a bucket full of program enhancements from Rutgers, a public institution)
      4. Commission a third party program study of TUFB

      Or, we could just be happy with 8-5 seasons.

      • The only point that I feel is unrealistic is the OCS, at never anytime soon. Rutgers situation is different than Temple with regards to being a public institution

      • The third party program study is a must…These type of bowl performances are not very good for recruiting.

  10. I left the bar and quit on this game after Davis was stopped on the 4th and short. I probably should have given up at halftime….
    One observation I will put forth before really reflecting or listening to the conversation here: the most embarrassing part of today’s game was watching UNC players talk trash to the Temple guys after EACH AND EVERY PLAY. The Owls had nothing to do but turn and walk away with their tails between their legs!!
    The team was humiliated in all aspects. Temple Tuff my you know what

  11. Rod Carey is 0-7 now in Bowl games. A complete fraud of a coach. UNC is average, this coaching staff (especially special teams) will ruin Temple football for years. Awful coach.

  12. OH I forgot to mention you have to tackle!!! Again something to prove for Temple another blow out loss, back 3 steps!! No team should look this bad in what should be a team with a chip on their shoulder!! I agree CRAPTACULAR the whole team effort

  13. Why is everybody upset. We allowed fewer points in this Bowl than last year! #TheProgram

  14. I think this game supports my view that we hired a Dunphy style coach. Successful at a lower level conference, brings along all his assistants who have no experience in our conference level recruiting or coaching or game planning. He will have “success” in the sense of winning seasons but will never challenge for the success we want, conference championship games, top twenty ranking, etc. I hope the school management does not make the same mistake as with Dunphy, by offering a long term extension. I hope they see the futility of keeping him on board if there is no improvement in three or four years and make a change.
    I hope I turn out to be wrong.

  15. Holy steaming mound of Owl Guano , Bat Man, talk about a shitty performance on national TV, Bat Man, this may have been the worst, Bat Man.
    I can only conclude the boys did not , will not, or could not play for these coaches. I get the idea they have had enough of QB Russo too.

  16. I think it’s finally set in that we are living in the post Matt Rhule era. The dudes a shooting star of a head coach and we happened to get him for four years. I really believe we should all strap in and get used to 7-8 wins as our ceiling for a good few years.

  17. Centeio is the QB next year. Has to be. Too many things have to be clean and perfect for Russo to succeed. In a 7 on 7 game, he’d be great.

    KC, UNC was a lot better than the 6-6 looked. They’ll compete for the Division next year. The margin was embarrassing, but the L itself was not.

  18. Until TU can recruit better players, results like this will be commonplace when they play schools like NC. NC’s recruiting ranking in 2015 was 28, 2016-32, 2017-27, and 2018-20. Temple’s last four were 80 in 2015, 59 in 2016, 119 in 2017and 84 in 2018 according to 247 sports. Frankly, why would a kid come to TU where fans are scarce and students don’t care. Hell, NC, a school ten hours away, had almost double the fans at the game. Philly’s two hours away and despite that the crowd was pathetic.

    It doesn’t matter who the coach is at TU. The best coach won’t recruit a class better than the high forties and that’s if everything goes right. Instead of griping, fans should be wondering how the team is winning with such bad recruiting classes. Like Darrell Royal said, “It’s not the x’s and o’s, it’s the Jimmys and Joes.” TU simply does not have enough of them. Couple guys today who were being projected as NFL draft picks were snapped back to reality by a team with good talent. That’s a good thing because they’ll be back next season. One caveat to the Jummy and Joe rule is Manny Diaz who has as much talent on his team as anyone in the country. Cannot imagine how bad TU’s record would have been had he remained as coach.

    Finally, TU was handicapped without a pass catching TE today. It’s like fighting with one arm tied behind your back.

    • Agree w/you 100%. It is unbelievable the amount of TUFB fans who believe recruiting rankings are irrelevant.

      Given an equitable amount of talent and competent coordinators Carey could compete for conference championships.

      Carey must let his OC go. Then put Everything into recruiting a next level QB.

      Temple has so many players in the NFL right now. Why no starting QBs?

      It is super hard to be a top college team if you don’t have that guy under center.

      • One other thing, what happened with I. Wright? Two different coaching staffs in a row get the most out of his abilities. Then along comes this new OC and ghost SPTC who get the least out of his abilities. And, he wore a single digit!

        In the future, our star players must star. If not, get them off the team. I. Wright’s production disappearance was a cancer Carey couldn’t figure out how to cure all season long.

        This UNC game was lost when Wright and Hand opted to sit out. Carey and staff had no clue on how to replace the juice and fill the huge void.

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