In the entire modern history of Temple football, the Owls have had eight seasons similar to the one they had in 2019.
The most similar one was the same 8-5 the Owls posted in the previous year, but the Owls also had a 9-4 season in 2011, an 8-4 season in 2010, a 9-4 season in 2009 and a 7-4 season in 1990.
The difference is a stark one.
In none of those other seasons did the Owls suffer three blowout losses like they did in 2019. To me, despite the two wins over then top 25 teams, that’s a soft 8-5.
If Pat Kraft pulled Rod Carey into his office for a year-end review like most of us people in regular jobs have, that’s the one criticism he should have of his old Indiana football buddy.
“Rod, great job beating two top 25 teams but you’ve got to cut that blowout shit out.”
Somehow, though, I think Rod-with a $10 million buyout–is on cruise control at Temple and Kraft is offering no year-end reviews.
Take what Geoff Collins did vs. Carey in comparison. In my mind, Carey still retains bragging rights against Mr. Mayhem because he beat Collins Power 5 team with Group of Five talent, 24-2. If that changes this season in Atlanta, though, that all goes out the window.
Still, the Apples vs. Apples comparison–Temple talent under Collins vs. Temple talent under Carey–has to objectively go to Collins and that comes from a guy who was a lot tougher on Collins and his offensive coordinator Dave Patenaude than I ever was on Carey and Mike Uremovich.
Here’s why: Collins’ 8-5 season was way more competitive in the five losses than Carey’s 8-5 season was. Collins’ team led, 34-26, at halftime against a top 10 team on the road, UCF, before falling, 52-40. Carey’s team lost at home to the same talent, 63-21.
Carey also lost head-scratchers at SMU (45-21) and to a 6-6 UNC team (55-13). In both games, Temple was a 6.5-point underdog. It wasn’t just me that saw Temple as the underperforming team, it was the nation.
Our reasons have been chronicled in this space until our faces have turned Jadan Blue. Temple has been a run-first team under previous coaches and the Owls used their toughness along the offensive line and in the run game to extend opponents into the fourth quarter. Carey bringing a RPO to Temple from NIU has needlessly opened areas for the bad guys to exploit and run away from Temple. Nothing would open passing lanes for All-American potential receivers like Blue and Branden Mack than a strong running game led by Ray Davis. Nothing makes those passing windows tighter than a passive commitment to the run.
We posted these same criticisms of Matt Rhule after his first two RPO years and he was flexible enough to change his style and increase his pay from $2.4 million per year in his final contract at Temple to $4.7 at Baylor and $6.3 at Carolina.
So far, Matt hasn’t cut us a residual check and we don’t want one.
All we want is for Temple to get back to being Temple. Run first, extend the game into the fourth quarter and not be embarrassed in losses. If Carey gets a pay raise for returning the Temple brand, we will kiss his ass incessantly and thank him without expecting anyting in return.
If he’s too stubborn to change, he will never be successful here but a lot of 6-6 seasons will keep him around for a decade or so and pay him comfortably because Temple never fires mediocre coaches. To me, that’s not good enough.
Temple should always strive for excellence and reject medicority the same way it rejected failure more than a decade ago.
Monday: Another kick in the nuts to the G5
Wednesday: An April Anthology
Friday: Is That All There is?