If you are walking around Lot K tomorrow, like I will be, you can be excused about having the feeling of de ja vu.
Shooting the breeze with Pat Kraft about football?
Walking around the Lot and seeing the affable family and friends of Khris Banks and Isaiah Graham-Mobley?
Shaking hands before the game with Boomer (Aaron Boumerhi)?
Been there, done that.
Except for them being the good guys, they are now the bad guys.
How did the world ever turn upside down?
Welcome to college football, 2021.
In a perfect world, the good guys would stay the good guys and the bad guys would stay the bad ones.
Whatever you feel about Kraft, the current AD at Boston College and the former one at Temple, I don’t remember a single athletic director not named Gavin White who you could walk up to and get an HONEST opinion about the game of football from.
This exchange between me and Pat in Lot K circa Geoff Collins and Dave Patenaude comes to mind:
Me: “Pat, you’re going to have to talk to Geoff about Patenaude. I have no idea what he’s doing.”
Pat: “Mike, you and me both. He’s got me scratching my head every week.”
Most athletic directors would shrug their shoulders and say that’s the head coaches bailiwick.
This guy was an honest, good, man. He still is.
When Kraft hired Manny Diaz to replace Collins at Temple, I screamed bloody murder in this space. I wrote then that Diaz, who was the son of the ex-Mayor of Miami, would be gone as soon as Mark Richt left.
I thought it would be a year or so.
Little did I know it would be 18 days.
Kraft never held it against me. He respected my opinion.
Now seeing what Diaz has done with Miami talent, I know Temple has dodged a huge bullet.
When he hired Rod Carey, I wrote that I thought Buffalo’s Lance Leipold or Eastern Michigan’s Chris Creighton might have been a better choice but, if Rod beats Boston College on Saturday (and I pray he will), Kraft might ironically be responsible for an embarrassing BC loss. I was for Leipold and Creighton because they did more with less than Carey did but Carey beating’s BC’s butt will prove my sorry ass wrong.
And, ironically, Pat Kraft right.
Geez, I hope so.
Hope doesn’t get me the AAC title or even a bowl game so I think BC will win this one and the 16-point spread sounds about right. The last time we saw Carey coach against an ACC team turned into a 55-13 loss and a lot of Temple fans walking out of the stadium disgusted.
The caveat there is we saw some life with the Owls last week.
The Owls showed a pulse and a lot of Temple TUFF in a 45-24 win over Akron. They got a good pass rush from their Power 5 transfers and an ESPN highlight reel play from Wake Forest portal guy Manny Walker. Temple needs a big pass rush, solid run stoppage and the kind of turnover-free football from Justin Lynch they got last week. Keep D’Wan Mathis on the bench and have him regain his swag against Wagner next week. That’s my vote. Have Justin play four games and save his redshirt unless he Wally Pipps Mathis in a big win over BC.
Put it this way: Temple had five turnovers in a 61-14 Week One loss and zero turnovers in a 45-24 win a week ago.
Football ain’t rocket science. It never was. Protect the football, rush the bad guys’ quarterback, win the damn game.
Whatever happens, it will be good to see Temple fans cheering the Owls and singing “T for Temple U” after every touchdown again. Temple drew 69,176 fans for its 2015 home opener, 35,004 fans or its 2016 opener and 35,117 for its 2017 home opener. It won two of those three games and attendance for the rest of the season suffered because of its shocking home opening loss to Army in 2016 and soared after wins the other two opening games. Win this one and the fans will keep coming back.
For once, it would be nice if the good guys would show the bad guys they made the wrong choice.
Picks this week: TULANE plus 14.5 at Ole Miss (Tulane gave Oklahoma all it wanted and Okie is better than Ole Miss); WYOMING -6.5 vs. Ball State; NORTHWESTERN -2.5 at Duke; TULSA +27.5 at The Ohio State; PURDUE +7.5 at Notre Dame (Purdue is considerably better than the Toledo and FSU teams ND beat and already has a win over a decent Oregon State squad); MICHIGAN STATE +6.5 at Miami. I think Purdue not only covers but wins the game outright, something on the order of 24-21.
9/21 update: Tulane let me down, but Wyoming easily covered, Northwestern lost, Tulsa covered, Purdue lost and Michigan State not only covered but won outright. So so far for the season 7-4-1 against the spread.
9/17 Update: Last week, 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 two) and BYU by one (it both won and covered).
Season to date: 4-2 straight up, 4-1-1 ATS
Sunday: Game Analysis
Monday: The Temple Curse