There are 127 FBS teams who opted into playing this season despite a global pandemic.
Just about every coaching staff is taking this season seriously.
Then there’s Temple.
In a 47-23 loss to SMU on Saturday, the latest in a growing number of embarrassments for a once-proud football program, we saw this:
- A quarterback (Trad Beatty) who arguably slid past the yard marker (you could make a case either way) for a first down in the first half, was ruled short, and Temple did nothing to challenge. The ESPN+ announcers said it was worth a challenge and it probably was.
- A shotgun formation on fourth and 1 yard and a predictable loss with the ball snapped so deep. (Every fifth grade Geometry student can tell you the shortest distance between two points is a straight line.)
- A kicking game that hasn’t even been addressed (missing an extra point and getting two more kickoffs hit out of bounds) despite it being an ongoing problem;
- No quarterback holding on any kicks, eliminating even the chance of a fake.
- Punts on fourth down late in the fourth quarter with the game out of reach when those could have been used as a teaching down for the offense.
- Quarterback auditions during a game for the second straight week that should have been done during practice.
What does all of the above prove?
Temple is playing this entire 2020 season like it’s an extension of spring practice and not a meaningful business enterprise which, when you boil it down to basics, college football is a business and the business is winning.
Like many businesses that serve the public this terrible year, Temple is about to go bankrupt with that approach.
The Owls had more time to prepare for a triple option than both BYU and Air Force did and crapped the bed in that game. They could have invited the best minds in college football known for stopping triple options (say, the Air Force and BYU coaching staffs) but decided, “well, we can stop them doing things our way.”
Err, no. BYU and Air Force held Navy to 3 and 7 points, respectively. It would have been nice to at least review the film of those games and apply the same approach. Instead, Temple did the opposite of those schools and “held” Navy to 31.
Very little of this is attributable to COVID, the City of Philadelphia or injuries. Most of it has to do with the incompetence of the coaching staff and, frankly, a lackadaisical attitude. When you are making $2 million a year for three more years with a $10 million buyout, there is a decreased sense of urgency and that’s what we’re seeing now.
Schools that don’t produce as many NFL players as Temple does have the same problems with COVID but have found a way to succeed. Forget about the teams Temple is looking up at in its own conference (err, everyone). Liberty is 7-0. Coastal Carolina is 6-0. Marshall is 6-0. Hell, even Nevada and San Jose State are 3-0.
Can we get one of those coaching staffs?
The business of college football is flourishing everywhere but Philadelphia largely because winning is no longer a priority here. It’s a sad thing to see.
If it reminds you of a bygone time of nearly 20 years ago, it should. I don’t want to go back to it. Neither should you and, more importantly, the powers-that-be at Temple who were around then.
Monday: Fizzy’s Corner