1958: The Last October start

The year 1958 was not a good time to be a student who loved sports at Temple University.

The football team did not start until Oct. 4th and played its scheduled eight-game season. The basketball team, a national powerhouse for years before and after, started two months after that and finished 6-19 under legendary coach Harry Litwack.

This year will be the first time since then that Temple football started in October. It finished 0-8. Among those losses were to Muhlenberg and Scranton and a 35-0 loss to Lafayette.

We can only hope and pray that things turn out the opposite way this year. There are several signs that they will, particularly on offense where they have experience at quarterback, offensive line, wide receivers and running backs. The 1958 team had none of that.

Of course, there was no pandemic back then.

Temple football unis 1958

The No. 1 song was “It’s All in the Game” by Tommy Edwards. It was No. 1 for three weeks in October.

Army was No. 1 in the country as late as Oct. 18 and that was the last time Army was ranked No. 1. The next season, a coach named Wayne Hardin took over the head job at Navy and the Midshipmen then beat their rivals five of the last six years.

Army finished third in the final poll, behind eventual winner LSU and No. 2 Iowa.

Temple football unis 2020

Why did Temple start on Oct. 4? We could not find a reason other than the university did not feel football was a good return on the investment. Pete Stevens, a former great player in better days, was the head coach and the season was part of a 21-game losing streak. They started the season even later, Oct. 5, in 1957, and did not play a September game in the late 1950s until the next year, 1959 (Sept. 26).

The Owls face a number of disadvantages starting this late because Navy and the other teams they face have played with game speed and there is no way to duplicate that in practice.

Still, the Owls have to know that virtually the only play Air Force ran in a 40-7 win over Navy was a fullback dive. Can they duplicate that? Doubtful, since they don’t have a fullback but they can simulate it by running Ray Davis left, right and (particularly) up the middle and it may be enough.

Here’s what Navy cornerback Cameron Kinley said about the loss:

That’s pretty much where we stand. Navy did a nice job stopping the more conventional offense that Tulane had. It did a terrible job stopping an offense with a fullback. Maybe Tayvon Ruley (6-0, 216) can step into that role for a few plays this week but Temple under Rod Carey has not shown that it can improvise and adjust to the weakness of the competition.

This week would be a good place to start.

As Tommy Edwards might say, it’s all in the game.

Friday: Our Long Wait Is Over

Sunday: Game Analysis


25 thoughts on “1958: The Last October start

  1. The 1958 season for Army was covered in the recent book When Saturdays Mattered. Premise was that season was also the season the NFL played the classic sudden death championship game which vaulted the NFL into prominence, pushing it past the college game in so far as the public’s attention.

    IIn 1958, Army coach Red Blaik changed his offense literally on a whim and tthe Lonely End was born. Colonel Pete Dawkins won the Heisman.

  2. Owls open as a 2-point favorite over Navy. I don’t bet Temple games because it ruins my enjoyment of watching them but, if I did, I’d lay the house and the farm on the Owls. My only concern is that Carey is stubborn enough to run all of his stuff (RPO, no fullback) at a team that defends the RPO well by is horrific against a fullback dive. Great coaches improvise and adjust. We’ll find out if Carey is a great coach Saturday night.

  3. Good call on betting FB Owls games, Mike. And so also for myself, these games are emotional basket cases, and that makes it unwise for a parlay.
    Heck I get twice as involved with TUFB as with the Eagles, who we all love.
    I’ve been know to whimper for 3 days after a bad loss.

    My Comcast wants even more bucks$$$ to add CBSS cable, ain’t gonna do it. Looking for our TV options OR if we can stream it /internet.

  4. That the coaching group has re-configured the O line is just about amazing, isn’t it ? Did they think O line was a problem last year?. Did they go into this year with open minds and ideas and told the kid ( most ) all positions are yours for the taking ? This is somewhat surprising. But then again there is no hard and fast law that each kid gets better every year. Many TU players had a great one year and then the next year they were ordinary.
    Tarnado Sharps and Isaiah Wright come to mind as near greats for a year.
    Hopefully the coaches saw something and worked to repair it or improve on it.
    Makes me hopeful the coaches are good after the first year burn in period. ****
    ( *** That’s a real old electronics expression and statistical thing *** )

    • One thing about Tarnado . Sharps who led the Big East in rushing. Dumb Bobby Wallace changed the offense and neutered him and Mike McGann by implementing the RPO with a QB ill-suited to run it. Who does that sound like?

      • Rhule in his first two years, the entirety of the Collins Era and last year’s inaugural Rod Carey squad. At least Rhule was reading this blog pleading for him to use the fullback to set up the run and make play action that much more effective in his final two seasons. Will never forget the guy who wrote on this website after Rhule’s 6-6 and pleading for him to ditch the spread: “If Rhule follows the advice of a blog, I want him fired.” He did, Temple had two 10-win seasons and he became a multimillionaire. You are welcome, Matt.

      • The Pravda gang don’t come around here much anymore. What a bunch sycophants they were.

      • Agree

  5. Love debunking the haters.

    • Dense is someone providing no receipts (tape, etc.) for his claims. I provide the receipts. Matt ran his own twitter account when he started at Temple and, according to his players, still runs it now.

      • Our Ambler friend who hates the blog show much he tries to post every day (unsuccessfully) actually thinks Matt Rhule would allow something to go out on his twitter account that he didn’t approve. Now THAT’S dense.

  6. We’re living in the Ambler guy’s head. It’s a shame he’s got nothing better to do.

  7. Keep crying, Ambler guy: Excuse Me No GIF by Osvezilna fronta

  8. Watching Houston. They look as rusty as a screen door in a haunted house. Hope it’s not a harbinger for Saturday.

    • Yeah, that’s what I’m most afraid of … this was the ONE year we should have played a FCS squad as a warmup because of the 4-month camp. No substitute for game speed.

    • Houston has shaken the rust off in a big way and Tulane is horrible. Three defensive tds and Tulane is still behind by 18. Guess teams have figured out that offense.

      • Navy allowed “only” 24 points. Looking for the Owls to score at least 31 on Navy and that should rate to roughly a 31-14 win. Gotta run the ball, though.

  9. Good call by John Belli as usual. As much as I love Bruce Arians, I do love college football more and am watching Houston-Tulane until the conclusion. No doubt in my mind both Temple and Houston should have had a tuneup.

  10. Freshman quarterback for Tulane (Michael Pratt) is an impressive player. Pocket passer like Anthony Russo. If you score 31 points in a college football game, you should win. No defense should be allowing 49.

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