Even though Temple beat a very good Tulane team last year, there is no denying the Green Wave is on the rise.
This year, if there is this year, they are poised to take advantage.
Tulane’s non-conference schedule has been ranked No. 1 by college football expert Tom Fornelli in the AAC and that’s probably the model Temple should pursue in the not-too-distant future.
Consider this: Tulane returns 14 of 22 starters from a bowl team and runs a unique zone bluff option type offense that is easier to pass off than, say, Army and Navy. It’s an offense few teams run and makes Tulane a tough team to prepare for in a one-week situation. Most P5 teams go up against a read-option and facing a different style makes it a tough team to prepare against.
Temple used to be that way as the Owls ran power football with a fullback for most of the Matt Rhule and Al Golden years. Since P5 teams didn’t see that style, the Owls had a fair share of success against more talented foes.
This is my favorite Rhule quote about Temple football from a Paul Myerberg piece in USA Today:
“”HOW DO WE DIFFERENTIATE OURSELVES? HOW DO WE MAKE OURSELVES HARD TO PREPARE FOR? PUT TWO BACKS ON THE FIELD. PUT TWO TIGHT ENDS ON THE FIELD. THIS IS WHAT YOUR ROOTS ARE. THESE KIDS HAVE MADE THEMSELVES REALLY TOUGH. AND THAT’S THE ONLY WAY WE’LL EVER WIN. BY BEING A REALLY, REALLY TOUGH FOOTBALL TEAM.”” _ MATT RHULE
Now it appears Tulane has adopted its own way to make it a difficult-to-prepare-for opponent.
Tulane goes on the road against Northwestern and Mississippi State and I like that scheduling. Both are P5 teams but both are beatable and winning those games would be a boost to the entire conference and not just Tulane.
Temple plays a home game against P5 bottom-feeder Rutgers and a road game against much-improved (at least from a personnel standpoint) Miami. However, if the Owls bring that read-option style to Miami with a classic pocket passer in Anthony Russo, they are going to get hammered by outside pass rushers Quincy Roche and Gregory Rousseau, who could both go in the first round of the NFL draft. Establish an inside running game to avoid those two ends and then throwing off play-fakes would probably mitigate the rush. Does Rod Carey go outside of his comfort zone to attack the weakness of his opponent?
We didn’t see much evidence of last in his last game.
Hopefully, his next game plan is the polar opposite of that one.
Monday: Drop dead date