The AAC: Temple should be the new Cincy

In any other season, AAC commissioner Mike Aresco should be thrilled.

Before Cincinnati lost to Alabama in the National semifinals, the league was 5-0 (two wins, three forfeits) and 2-0 in actual games against the vaunted SEC.

This year was a little different, though.

Owners of two of those wins, UCF and Houston, will be gone soon but probably hang around next season. So will Cincy.

Bragging about being a Power 6 conference is probably out of the question now.

Temple should not expect to compete for the title this year, but there is no reason the Owls should not expect or demand to be on top in the new AAC that begins next year. In other words, the administration should demand no less than being the new Cincinnati. Temple beat Cincy four-straight years before losing to the Bearcats the last couple of times.

Temple, like Cincy, is located in a big city and should be vying with another large city school, Memphis, the title every year. Even USTA and UAB are ahead of the Owls right now but, with judicious use of the transfer portal, the Owls should be able to overtake those schools.

Should be and will be are two different things.

The task for new head coach Stan Drayton is to right the ship this year. If he learns anything from the failures of Rod Carey, it’s that dipping into the portal for just six players when your roster is speed, depth and strength challenged is simply not enough.

The Owls have to get a dozen potential starters out of the portal to just be competitive right away, say, 6-6, and then take the next step toward contending for the title in 2023.

The portal has mostly taketh away from Temple in the Carey years but Temple needs to do some innovative things to benefit from it.

The Owls really need to get a quarterback who can challenge Dwan Mathis for the starting role. Justin Lynch and Mario Valenti were just not good enough.

They may need to dip into the FCS ranks and nab a quarterback. Look at how Western Kentucky quarterback Bailey Zappe put his team on the map after transferring from tiny Houston Baptist. The Owls need to find another Bailey Zappe. Watching the FCS playoffs, there are plenty of quarterbacks out there even better than Mathis and the competition might be good for Dwan, too.

Other than that, getting some of the lost Temple players back would help, too. Vince Picozzi was the second-best offensive lineman on the team for two-straight eight-win seasons and would solidify the line. Cornerback Linwood Crump has always been positive about Temple in his tweets and would be welcome back.

They are the kind of leaders the rest of the team both remembers and respects and would take no BS in the locker room and accept no less than maximum effort, something we did not see in either 2020 or 2021.

Drayton can set the tone by hiring a terrific staff and a strength coach the players relate to (David Feeley is available), but he needs more Jimmy and Joes than X’s and O’s and he needs them now.

Without Houston, UCF and Cincy, there is a void at the top of the AAC.

The Owls better have a plan to fill it.


20 thoughts on “The AAC: Temple should be the new Cincy

  1. With UCONN gone, outside of Navy (which is a different situation in terms of recruitment), the Owls are the only conference team located in the northeastern part of the country. I would think that we would continue to go heavily after talent in PA and NJ and do more in NYS. Yes Florida has a rich talent pool, but there are many good choices that a graduating high school senior has at to play at D1 level in that state and elsewhere in the south. Owls had 5 players from Florida on last year’s team at one point, 33 from PA, 20 from NJ and just 3 from New York State.

    • And yes, I believe Temple CAN be the new Cincinnati in the AAC!

      • Adding Chris Wiesehan was a big plus. He understands the culture here. So does Preston Brown, who gave a funny and pretty dead-on analysis of Rod Carey to a friend of mine. I hope they give Chris the special teams in addition to the OL if they can’t get Foley back.

  2. Since it appears Rhule will get another year with Carolina suspect Foley will stay put on the staff there as well. I don’t know but would think he makes more $$ on an NFL staff than what Temple could pay

    • Might be prudent for him to get another job now because Rhule won’t last more than next year. Plus, he’d be coming home. Don’t know if that Temple opportunity would be available next year.

      • Good points, wonder if Wisenhan had similar thinking in coming back to TU. Collins seems to be done after next season unless he has a huge turn around there.

  3. I liked Wiesehan. He helped put Owls into the NFL. As of now, Temple is not the next Cincy, but Philly may be the next Detroit. Great coaches is a tradition at Temple, but North Philly can’t compete with the rest of the AAC schools. Seriously need to move the program to the burbs.

  4. It’s somewhat sad to think that Temple was on the path that Cincinnati has taken over the past few seasons. Rhule had left things in excellent position for Temple FB to elevate to the big boy table. That progress was detoured by lack of aggressive scheduling, the Collins hire, and the lack of building the OCS. Any and all momentum was evaporated under Carey.

    Temple FB should take the John Chaney approach to non-conference games and will always be handicapped by playing FCS level competition. Collins was a good program manager but not the guy to get to the level Cincinnati is at now. How different the landscape would look now if the OCS had been built.

    As KJ astutely notes regularly, all of this is a failure on the administration and BOT. I do have hope with a President and AD in place both with P5 experience on their resumes.

    • I’m sure Carey didn’t try to do it but, if he did, he could not have done much more damage to the program than he eventually did. Carey was the perfect storm. One of the last of the hard-ass coaches converging with the dawn of the transfer portal. Mix, stir and that’s a nuclear chain reaction Chernobyl type implosion of Temple football.

  5. There’s always some hope at TU. In their football history there have been monumental downs, cellar level, and some ups no matter how bad things had gotten. So, hopefully our new coach will get things going upward. Hopefully it will be a new dawn of solid, consistent competitiveness.

  6. Here are some players to pursue: (from Random Thoughts piece on RollBamaRoll)

    The Hawaii state senate will be holding a hearing on the state of the University of Hawaii football program. There are two agenda items: “Budget and cost related to coaching staff contracts,” and “Issues relating to the transfer of players.” This meeting comes on the heels of the Warriors’ leading tackler Darius Muasau (64 solos, 45 assts, 7.0 sacks, 14.0 TFL) announcement of heading to UCLA. Muasau is the 15th Warriors player to enter the portal since the 2021 season came to a close. Even DB Michael Graham, son of coach Todd Graham is in the transfer portal.

    Oklahoma QB Caleb Williams is going to explore transfer opportunities, but says he could remain at OU
    Former UCF quarterback Gabriel Dillon/Dillon Gabriel reneged on his commitment to UCLA and will transfer to Oklahoma where he’ll sit on the bench behind Caleb Williams. #LifeChoices


    UCF’s leading tackler (108 tackles) linebacker Tatum Bethune wants out or Orlando.
    Two-time All-Big Ten safety Joseph Brandon needs a better scene than Northwestern.
    Tulsa defensive tackle Jaxon Player, an all-conference selection each of the last two years, is transferring as well.
    Wake Forest running back Christian Beal-Smith, the team’s leading rusher the last two years, is looking for greener pastures. Call it the Kenneth Walker Effect.
    Here we go again with the starting quarterbacks. San Diego State signal caller Lucas Johnson, who helped the Aztecs go 12-2 this year, has entered the TP.

  7. “Hello Danny, this is Stan Drayton. I know we have not worked together, you were terrible at Colorado and Fresno St, and being a West Coast guy would you like to be our OC at Temple?”

    Langsdorf, “Who are you again, and where is Temple?”

  8. We are witnessing in real time the Texasfication of TUFB, orchestrated by AAC Commissioner Aresco.

    Aresco pushed Temple to hire Johnson. Johnson hires Drayton. Drayton hires Texas native Tory Teykl as Director of Football Operations…,

    Branding transition from Temple Tuff to Temple Texas is underway.

    Ola Adams, Danny Langsdorf, and Antoine Smith are all poor recruiters. They have lousy recruiting history. Wiesehan was the weakest recruiter of all position coaches during his last stint at TU.

    We have to keep praying.

  9. Wow! Not much in the way of optimism for Owl football expressed here! It’s easy to see why of course, as we look back at the last two embarrassing seasons. There were various reasons contributing to that, among them COVID and the player transfer portal, But the primary responsibility for our current rock-bottom situation rests squarely on the shoulders of the former program-destroying HC, one Rod Carey. 2015 and 2016 seem like eons ago! If the new regime fails t turn things around, I fear this 127 year-old football program may very well have come to an end. College football is a whole different beast now than it was in the latter half of the last century. It’s mainly the haves and the have nots. It will take a monumental effort to bring this program back to respectability, but I believe it can be done! We’ve been down many times before but somehow survived. Go Owls!

    • Philadelphia is corrupt, and pro sports money in pols’ pockets is part of the prob. North Philly is a dangerous and hostile place as evidenced by three recent murders near campus, 540 homicides in 2021, and stadium stompers’ harassments. Solution: put out the For Sale sign. Move to the burbs.

      • Morgan Hall was built with a $5 million contribution out of the pocket of current BOT chair Mitchell Morgan (I’m sure it cost much more than that). The basketball practice facility cost $50 million. The LC cost $83 million. The EO cost $17 million, the Library costs $175.8 million, the Olympic sports complex costs $22 million but, yeah, let’s move to Amber and leave all that hardware on the battlefield. Geez, the U.S. didn’t leave that much money worth of equipment in South Vietnam in 1975. The ship of moving to Ambler sailed just before the LC was built.

    • Jim Graham, your last sentence echoes what I said earlier. Also, things may be different but TU football can still hang in there. But if we want to see improvement better decisions need to be made by the BOT and admin.

  10. Dave, Instead of picking up the school and moving to the Burbs the University should get with residents, developers, local politicians (not a very sharp bunch), students, law enforcement and put a 5 year vision on what they want for the University within 5 years. Go any longer and the vision becomes a pipe dream. Richmond VA doesn’t have anywhere near the allure of Philly, but VCU got buy in from developers ($$$), residents and the City to expand their campus improving the area dramatically. Money pours into cafes, bars, delis, restaurants and other businesses. Student housing is a profitable sector of commercial real estate. It can work, it won’t be easy. You want a collegiate experience you will need some folks to move. Sorry. You need more police to enforce safety. You can’t have kids getting shot on their way into their apartments. As a type this I’m thinking this is a pipe dream and with the inept mayor and city council that a booming urban destination college may not be viable at TU. It’s a good school, you have to change the perception. U of Maryland years ago used to be a less than ideal academic school, it took awhile but they turned the corner. It is now a very good academic school and they have invested in the College Park area (which wasn’t a great area) improving the attractiveness of the University.

  11. DJ Elliott’s stints as DC 😦

    In 2018, Colorado finished 71st in total defense. In 2019, Kansas finished 120th in total defense. The next year they finished dead last, 128th. Notice the trend? Worst DC in all of college football. Kansas fired Elliott in 2020. He was out of football until Drayton called. Three consecutive really bad years, then sit out for a year….,

    Why did Drayton call this guy? Same for the new OC. Both have far less than desirable track records and zero ties to the TUFB recruiting area.

    So far, administratively TUFB has taken a dramatic swing towards Texas and the Big 12. The challenge is Carey left TUFB with a Little 5 roster.

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