Interesting that three of the starting offensive linemen who played in this game are still with the Owls.
Three years and two days ago, Temple football rung up 59 points on Houston in a 59-49 road win.
Since then, though, the two teams reached a fork in the road.
Houston went down a nice four-lane highway that led to an 8-1 record this season.
Temple drove off into a ditch, turned the vehicle over, and totaled the car and has won only four games in its last 16.
Houston is on the road to the AAC championship game with Cincinnati while Temple has called the towtruck in order to remove a group of midwestern carpetbaggers who ruined one of college football’s most unique and respected brands.
One, Temple got away from the Temple brand (run the ball, control the clock, great defense and special teams) and was seduced pretty much like everyone else in college football by the RPO. That might be the trend in most of college football but Temple had its own nice little brand (fullback, two tight ends, run the ball to make the pass effective) that was just as hard for other teams to prepare for as was the Navy triple option.
Two, Houston hired a big-time winning coach from a Power 5 conference who was known for establishing a rapport with his players and Temple hired a hard-ass “my-way-or-the-highway” guy who had success at a lower conference but was overmatched in this one. If his players didn’t like his style, they were free to go and, in the era of the transfer portal, they did.
Temple did a piss-poor job of replacing them, something we’ve harped on in this space since February. We thought the Owls would finish 2-10 back then. Three and nine and umpteen blowouts give us no satisfaction.
Now Houston visits Temple (noon tomorrow, ESPN+) and nobody will be surprised if the Cougars return the favor by scoring 59 points of their own on the road. Before the game last week, we wrote this game had 35-7 written all over it and the Owls sadly exceeded even those low expectations with a 45-3 loss. The only way this one doesn’t have 59-7 written all over it is if the Owls do something drastic and put all eight defenders in the box from the get-go. There is no sense of urgency from this coaching staff so I expect them to do the same things they’ve done to get them beaten by 52-3 and 45-3 scores. Nothing.
Over 30,000 Houston fans saw Temple rout the Cougars three years ago and the 59-49 score was not as close as the final indicated. The Owls led, 59-35, in that one and the game was never in doubt. Ryquell Armstead ran for six touchdowns (one short of the school game record of seven set by Montel Harris). If as many as 12,000 Temple fans attend tomorrow, I will be shocked.
The fans are disgusted with Carey and for good reason. A 1-6 season has been followed by a three-win season and one of those was over Wagner, so it should not count.
That’s how far we’ve fallen.
The Temple administration should be taking notes.
Back then, there was a commitment to the run. Temple ran the ball, chewed a lot of clock and stayed away from the 63-21, 55-13 49-7, 52-3 and 45-3 losses that have been a hallmark of The Rod Carey Error.
Today, the run is an afterthought.
Not coincidentally, blowouts are at the forefront.
While Dana Holgorsen is firmly established in Houston, Carey is a dead man walking in Philadelphia.
Big-time Temple donors have been told Carey will “be evaluated” at the end of the season but that might be too late. Temple has done the man no favors by making him take what is essentially a “perp walk” on the fly in Saturday morning at 9:30. I’ve been the biggest Carey critic since the Military Bowl of 2019, but my plea for the Temple fans today who go is to leave the man alone.
Let him walk by and cheer the kids, who we never criticize here.
He’s gone and he knows it and it will be an excruciating walk-in for him otherwise so let him be.
If you want to chant “FIRE CAR-EY” during the game, that’s OK but any up-close and personal attack as he walks by fans is and should be out of bounds.
Meanwhile, the lesson of three years ago is pretty damn clear. Rid yourself of these coaches who don’t relate to the kids and get one who the kids like and will restore the Temple brand of running first, then taking advantage of play-action for explosive downfield plays. Eight-minute drives are better than four-minute ones. Don’t give these other teams a shot to score 52, 49 and 45 points in these games.
That’s the only way Temple will ever be successful.
Three years ago now seems like 30 years and having a running back dominate the opposition like Bernard Pierce, Jahad Thomas and Rock Armstead should be the blueprint for the next few years. If that’s a lesson taken from the RCE (Rod Carey Error) it will be the only plus out of this unmitigated disaster.
Picks This Week: Only like a few teams against the spread, all underdogs: ODU getting 6 against visiting FAU, UCF getting 7.5 at SMU, RUTGERS getting 6.5 at Indiana and TROY getting 7.5 against visiting LL.
Latest update: Went 2-2 again, losing on Air Force and Wake and winning on San Jose State and Marshall, bringing our record ATS 22-18-1.
Even later update: Went 2-2 again for third-straight week, winning on ODU and Rutgers and losing on Troy and UCF bringing our season ATS record to 24-20-1. As of 8:25 p.m., the Troy loss cost us $2,678.97 (really, 10 bucks) but the Owl Club isn’t out $267 because they are sitting on their freaking hands about firing Rod Carey and would have lost the money anyway without a noon Monday press conference.
Sunday: Game Analysis