How important is the Temple at Akron football game?
Important, and also not important at all.
If you are Rod Carey, it’s very important.
A loss continues a decline in his performance as head coach and puts him on the road to inevitable dismissal at the end of this or next season. A convincing win combined with a highly unlikely win over Boston College next week makes him 2-1 and might turn around the clubhouse to set it on the path to five or six wins, but realistically no more.
If you are a hardcore and objective Temple football fan like me, really not important at all. We’ve been saying in this space since February that the apparent “plan” for Carey as the program’s CEO was to largely rely on the backups to the players who were most responsible for a 1-6 season in 2020 to turn around fortunes in 2021.
That was a recipe, in our minds, for a 2-10 season and that’s only if you beat Akron (3:30 p.m., Saturday, ESPN+).
A respected poster here, KJ, says 1-11 and doesn’t think there’s a chance to beat Akron.
We will see.
Put it this way. The Akron team the Owls are a 6.5-point favorite over beat Bowling Green, 31-3, last year to close out the season. Bowling Green is pretty bad but lost to Tennessee last week by a similar score (38-6). Akron lost to Auburn by pretty much the same score Temple lost to Rutgers and most college football fans will tell you without hesitation that Auburn is better than Rutgers.
When 13 mostly impact players leave, it’s your job as the CEO to bring in 13 better players from P5 programs. The best Carey could do is six P5 players and their impact is largely suspect. He didn’t do his job in the offseason and, as a result, might have dug his own grave.
That photo in the middle of this post tells you all you need to know about how far Temple has fallen in the last decade. In 2011, with an all-out commitment to the run, Temple hammered host Akron, 41-3. Look at those five blocks in that photo. Pretty much pancakes.
That’s the definition of Temple TUFF.
That’s a football identity. Knock people off their feet, establish the run, and then make big plays in the play-action passing game. Catch the ball and advance it on special teams and make big plays off the returns. Don’t be afraid to both return or block kicks. Under Rod Carey, a secured fair catch is considered a successful special teams’ play. Blocking a punt or a field goal? Out of the question.
That’s not Temple TUFF.
Temple really has no identity pretty much since Matt Rhule left. The Owls try to fool people with the RPO (run/pass/option) and end up fooling no one but themselves.
John Chaney once said “winning is an attitude” but so is losing and that’s why this quote from one Temple player after a 61-14 loss is so disturbing: “Rutgers wanted it more than we did.”
If you go 1-6 and your next chance to prove that 1-6 was bogus is almost a year away, you should want something a lot more than a 3-6 team did. There’s no reason anyone else should want something more.
Rutgers, at least in that sense, was a lot more important than Akron and the Owls might have showed us who we thought they were that day.
Unless they go out and beat Akron, 61-14. I’m hoping that’s the case but not counting or even expecting it. A 13-10 win elicits a “meh” but certainly is more acceptable than a 13-10 loss. I’m tired of hearing excuses about “playing hard” and correcting “fixable errors” like having two of the same numbers on the field at the same time. Do you think on one of those two bus trips to Rutgers someone, anyone, would have mentioned out loud that we have two No. 39s on an 81-man travel roster? That’s the kind of stuff that should be taken care of before the fact, not after. Losing programs make mental errors like that. Winning programs don’t. Winning is the only important thing.
I hold Temple football to the standard Al Golden and Matt Rhule established and nothing else is important to me at all.
If the Temple University administration has a pulse, it would have a similar definition of important.
Sunday: Game Analysis
Monday: Not Like That
Picks this week: Pitt 35, Tennessee 30 (Pitt favored by 3), Northern Illinois 24, Wyoming 20 (Wyoming favored by 7),
Purdue 51, UConn 0 (Purdue favored by 34), Nebraska 21, Buffalo 17 (Nebraska favored by 14), Appalachian State 17, Miami 14 (Miami favored by 14) and BYU 17, UTAH 16 (Utah favored by 7).
Season to date: 0-0 against the spread, 0-0 straight up.
Update: Predicted Pitt by five (it won by 7), Purdue 51-0 (it won 49-0), NIU by 4 (it lost by seven, a push) Nebraska by four (it won by 25), App. State by 3 (it lost by three) and BYU by one (it both won and covered).
Season to date: 4-2 straight up, 4-1-1 ATS