After Cincy, plenty of room at the top for Temple

After Temple makes a prime time appearance on ESPN Friday night at Cincinnati, the Bearcats–a longtime staple of the Owls’ football schedule–will be gone.

Maybe forever from the Temple schedule after this year given the fact that the school wants an early departure from the American Athletic Conference.

That’s sad because Cincy was a longtime regional rival in the next state over where the Owls have had pretty good success against.

The Owls have more to thank Cincinnati for than the wins, though.

Cincinnati showed Temple University how to get to the top of the AAC: Build a state of the art on-campus stadium (Nippert Stadium is basically a new stadium on an old site) and compile four-straight top-level recruiting classes composed of players who want to experience college life in an urban environment, not in the middle of nowhere. Mix in a popular players coach who wants to stay a few years and not jump for the first P5 offer like most of his league mates, stir, and come up with a top 10 team.

In the G5, a top 10 team is reaching the pinnacle.

Philadelphia has arguably more to offer than Cincy as a city.

Temple, as a program, needs to, err, Cherry pick the other ingredients of success–getting a popular players’ coach and stringing together a few top-rated recruiting classes.

Owls on ESPN after winning the AAC title in 2016.

Can the Owls do it?

Sure.

In Al Golden and Matt Rhule, the Owls had popular players’ coaches and top recruiting classes. In a league where everyone but Navy was running an RPO, they established a unique offensive style that featured establishing the run first. Only when that happened, which was pretty much always, the Owls faked it into the belly of a big-time running back (Bernard Pierce, Jahad Thomas and Ryquell Armstead come to mind) and that mere fake led to wide open Temple receivers running through the secondary for explosive plays in the downfield passing game. Special teams were not only locked down but the Owls routinely got big punt returns on their end and blocked punts on the other end.

What happened?

Temple beat Cincinnati four-straight times and the only recent loss to the Bearcats came on a blocked extra point that was taken back for two points in 2019. Under Rod Carey, the Owls don’t lock down special teams. Hell, they often leave the keys on top of the vehicle so the carjackers don’t have to do any work. Returning a kick for touchdown? Not allowed. Blocking a punt? Out of the question. You know how to take a punt to the house? Put Trey Blair back there. He has plenty of experience doing just that in a great high school league. You know how to block a punt? Have your tallest player (Ronnie Stevenson?) with a good wingspan and vertical leap come straight up the middle and stick his paw up. When Steve Addazio needed to block a field goal at UConn, he put 6-6 wide receiver Deon Miller in the game and gave him the job. It got done. Temple won, 17-14, when Brandon McManus kicked the game-winning field goal with no time left.

“I wanted to put the ball in the middle of the field and give the best kicker in the country a chance to win it and that’s just what he did,” Daz said.

Over at Cincy, special teams are the same third of the game they were at Temple under the Golden Rhule.

Now Cincy is on top of the AAC hierarchy and a lot of things will have to go right for the 28-point underdog Owls to shock the world on Friday.

Whatever happens, Cincy has now taken over the league for however much time they have left in it. Before leaving, they have shown the Temple administration how to get back on top. It’s not rocket science and it’s doable.

Football is the front porch of a major university and Cincy has the best porch in the AAC neighborhood now.

Good blueprints make for good porches. Now that the rich folks are leaving the neighborhood, we will find out soon enough if the Owls are the neighbors who invest enough coin to move on up to the East Side.

Friday: Cincinnati Preview

18 thoughts on “After Cincy, plenty of room at the top for Temple

  1. Wouldn’t it be great to pull off another one like Virginia Tech way back when VT was in the top 10, Temple had only one win, went down there and upset them? Unlikely to get another one of the “biggest upsets in NCAA history” but we can dream. Hopefully Temple keeps within 2-3 touchdowns and no major injuries. Just when we all were for riding Carey out on a rail, a 6-7 win bowling season looks possible. And even tho I had been willing to give him a chance this season I also became one to want to get rid of him because the prospects were looking so bad. Still wait and see tho, as usual.

    • Jon, How far do you live from Nippert? I imagine it’s going to be a sellout Friday night coming off a win over Notre Dame.

      • I live 2-2 1/2 hours from Cincinnati – not that far to go to a game but with a 7 o’clock kickoff it would mean either staying over (expensive) or driving home in the middle of the night (no thanks). Also one can see the game better on TV anyway while not having to buy a ticket and all the hassle. If it had been a noon kickoff or even 3:30 I would consider it. Every other year I’ve thought about going, but they’ve all been night games. I like going to games tho. Seen our Owls play at some big time schools: all over the southeast (mostly SEC teams, GA, FL, AL among 5 of them), as well as VT, Louisville, Clemson, Pitt, PSU, East Carolina, My son-in-law (FSU grad) is jealous of me, lol. Why do you ask?

      • For some reason I thought you lived in Cincinnati. Al Golden will be attending his second straight Temple game after not being at 1 for 11 straight years

  2. You know, there is no way that I would pull for Temple to lose. BUT I got nothing against Cincinnati. I’d love to see them go undefeated and play in the playoff.

    • Cincinnati is dead to me after they left the AAC. They are playing for big 12 prestige now so nothing would be a bigger middle finger to the big 12 than a Temple win. Let’s hope the AAC refs get the memo.

    • Jon, I live in Cincy near Nippert. I’m a longtime Temple fan. If you want to go to the game, we could buy tickets at a resell site and you could stay at an extra bedroom at my house.

      • Are you the Jon from Cincy I see on Mike’s donation list. Thanks for the invite. Very generous of you. I’ll think about it but probably not, mostly because of the COVID stuff I won’t go into a packed stadium – especially with no mask mandate. Any other year I’d probably do it. BTW, I live in the Hocking Hills area, by Old Man’s Cave and Ash Cave. If you’re vaxed consider a trip over here and stay in our guest cottage. Are you a Temple alum? I am, ’68.

      • Hello thecontrarian2020, I am a long time temple fan and reader and currently a senior at Xavier U. My friends and I will be cheering on the owls at mios in Clifton if you need plans for the game. Go Owls!

  3. Only an experienced sociologist can figure out why Cincy supports their college team and Philly disrespects their number one employer. Or maybe a psychiatrist or an FBI investigation.

    • 35,715 Temple fans showed up to see the no. 21 Temple owls beat Tulane in 2015. That number exceeds the current capacity of nippert stadium. Win and Philly supports the owls.

      • Wrong. The city is corrupt putrid swamp. NoPhilly locals dump trash and pet food around student housing to attract vermin, and thugs drive ATVs the sidewalks and doing wheelies on the streets.
        The city wont approve privately financed on-campus stadium. The city should reimburse Temple for the cost of renting the Linc and revenue losses from vending and parking.

        The next AD must be a personal injury lawyer and not a jock.

  4. Nice newzzz for once, as Temple Vs Cincy will be on TV , ESPN , Friday night. What a nice bit of news here, really.
    The winner here is not hard to guess, but it will be on real TV.
    That means ‘ chikin ‘ wings and all that with cold beer at home in my TV room.
    (Also I still have that jar of pickled herring in my fridge which needs attention, that’s a northern European thing, ya know… )

    • Yes, Jon from Cincy. Both of my parents and both sisters are Temple grads. I was going to games in Mt Airy when I was 7, in the late 1950s .. when we were happy beating Kings Point! Let me know if you change your mind.

  5. Temple Community,

    I am thrilled to announce that Arthur Johnson, a veteran administrator who has served the last seven years on the athletics senior leadership team at the University of Texas, has been named the Vice President and Director of Athletics at Temple University.

    Arthur’s hiring is the next step in filling out the senior team that will enable Temple to become even stronger and a true leader in higher education, the community and the nation. I am proud that each of my current cabinet member appointees have served in leadership roles at Temple for many years—demonstrating consistency of institutional knowledge and experience. Johnson embodies our vision for excellence, and I am confident he will be a wonderful complement to this leadership team.

    During a remarkable 25–year career, Arthur has been instrumental in raising the competitive profiles of three storied athletic programs—the University of Texas, the University of Georgia and Arizona State University—and he’s uniquely prepared to lead and elevate Temple to a similar championship status.

    A media conference will be streamed live today on ESPN+ and Owlsports.com beginning at 9:30 a.m.

    Join me in welcoming Arthur, his wife T’Leatha, and their nine–year–old son Aaron to the Temple family.

    Sincerely,

    Dr. Jason Wingard
    President

  6. What else does No Philly want? If Wingard and Johnson can’t build an OCS then it will never happen.The clock just started ticking really loud.

    • Stadium funding has already been approved by BOT. This hiring screams of working with the community to find a more acceptable spot inside Temple’s footprint for a stadium that doesn’t butress any row homes. To me, the key words in Mr. Johnson’s resume was being involved in facilities building. That must have jumped out to the BOT as well.

  7. My heart goes out to Austin Mullen, we’ve seen this movie three times already. This is his first screening, he should stop reaching out until a deal is done.

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