Two ways to look at the 2022 season

UCF was 0-12 just one year before losing this exciting game to Temple in 2016. The Youtube channel PCS Highlights called the final touchdown here “the most iconic play in Temple history.”

Reasonable people can take a look at a set of facts and come away with a different conclusion.

The college football world seems to have Temple football pegged to finish last in the 11-team American Athletic Conference standings.

It won’t be long now.

There are two ways to look at it.

One, the college football world is looking at the results of the last two seasons and plugging Temple in to finish about the same way and a lot of weight in that conclusion is based on the past. Plus, that world is centered in Las Vegas where the current over/under has the Owls at 2.5 wins.

Two, a new coach and new energy surrounding the program–plus an influx of pretty good talent from the transfer portal–probably means more than the three wins the team was able to accomplish in a toxic oxygen-deprived atmosphere a year ago.

We’re looking at it the second way and, if history is any indication, a new coach with new energy can bring positive results to difficult situations right away.

You need look no further than the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania for a good example.

In 1997, Pitt had a new coach, Walt Harris, brought in because the Panthers won a total of 12 games the prior four years. All Pitt did in Harris’ first season with pretty much that same talent was win six games and earn a Liberty Bowl spot. (One of the five regular-season losses Pitt had that year was to Temple.)

Owls have been doing the right things in offseason workouts and in the community so far and there’s no reason to believe they won’t be making fans with their play on the field.

Temple, on the other hand, has won 20 games in the last four years, not 12. Plus, the transfer portal did not exist as a tool to upgrade the talent then and it does now.

You can offer your opinion that Temple can’t win at least six in Stan Drayton’s first year but you can’t argue with the fact that it has been done in the past on multiple occasions with programs that have performed worse than Temple in the immediate past, too many to mention here.

One example of this quick fix happened in the league Temple currently competes. UCF turned an 0-12 season in 2015 quickly under first-year head coach Scott Frost, winning six games in 2016–again without the benefit of a transfer portal.

Call it a new attitude, better coaches, whatever, but examples abound everywhere that things can transform pretty quickly in one year and, from what we’ve seen so far, Temple appears to be headed for a Pitt/UCF kind of transformation.

It’s just not logical that a lesser talented Rod Carey-coached Temple team can outperform a better-coached and more talented coached Temple team.

Two-point-five wins is really easy money but we’re looking at more than double that. The fact that it has been done before under more difficult circumstances means that it can be done again.

Friday: AAC Media day.

12 thoughts on “Two ways to look at the 2022 season

  1. Miike,

    The Rod Carey wounds are still so fresh, so maybe it is too easy to overestimate the damage he inflicted. That being said, I think that Coach Drayton conceivably adds 2 wins by himself.

    I am not a gambler, but the 2.5 wins seems like an easy call to me. If Drayton can’t find an extra win after layups like Lafayette and UMass, than there is a real problem.

    • Yes, plus there are a lot of notions floating around out there that can be easily disabused. I read one post that “the offensive line is weak.” In exactly what world is an offensive line that includes Adam Klein, VIctor Stoffel and Isaac Moore weak? These guys performed extremely well under Chris Wiesehan/Geoff Collins. Carey pretty much abandoned the run game. With the run as a feature, I can see this as one of the better offensive lines in the league. It’s is fair, though, to be concerned about the DEFENSIVE line, not the offensive one, but Xach Gill being able to play should mullifiy some of those concerns.

  2. If UCF could do it, why can’t Temple? The Knights went 0-12 in 2015 and then went 13-0 in 2027 where they self-proclaimed a national championship.

  3. I’m taking the over here. I do believe this program is going to get right, and there certainly are the afore-mentioned examples of how new coaching and energy leads to over-achieving prior expectations for a team.

    • What Walt Harris did in 1997 was impressive and Scott Frost in 2016 same. Drayton in 2022 can immediately upgrade the rosters when those two couldn’t. If he had sat back and done nothing and left this roster the same, I’d be concerned but it has been significantly upgraded at the important positions of RB and QB just to mention two. It shouldn’t be as heavy as a lift as some Temple fans think to get to six. Remember, Cincy took a major talent hit as did UCF. Can the Owls get past those two? Maybe not but certainly jump six or seven spots ahead of what they were a year ago.

  4. UCF game was one of the most exciting away game my son and I ever did. Going to miss playing UCF because their sideline officials and coaches were always very accommodating.

  5. Love the optimism but still have the reality of being year zero in the Drayton era. He gets a year zero due to the amount of cleanup and rebuild needed. Despite the skepticism around these parts, I thought Stan was a great pick as HC. He has addressed positions of need on the roster. He has stopped the roster hemorrhage. He has resuscitated recruiting in a 200 mile radius.

    The benchmarks going forward are more basic. Is the team competitive in all games this year? Does Stan eliminate the quitting on the field we saw under Rod C? Can Stan avoid the blowout losses of 28 points or more that we saw prior 3 years? 4 wins is success. Anything beyond that is bonus.

  6. I have heard that the atmosphere around team players is much more upbeat now under Coach Drayton and that’s a good sign. A positive attitude is key! Something lacking for the most part under the previous HC. Coach Drayton has reached out to the Temple community in a big way. Go Owls!

  7. Owls can win some games this year but sets up better for ’23 with a depleted AAC. Drayton building a talent base so if the staff can coach… who knows. Turnarounds can happen but the PITT situation did not happen overnight. Both UCF and PITT invested heavily in the sport and are reaping the benefits. This took leadership from the top and long-term financial planning. Temple CANNOT be mediocre in football; some schools can “get away” with that. Indeed, Temple must follow the paradigm of UCF, PITT, HOUSTON, CINNCY. I think the current leadership is good; Wingard et al. Unfortunately Wingard is usingTemple as a stepping-stone to a bigger job, once he accomplishes his objectives. PITT had Nordenberg for 19 years and now Gallagher for around 9. (So much more to add Mike to put in full context. I admire your loyalty to Temple football. I was good friends with Vic Baga, Wes Sornisky and others, and I know that all of you guys bleed cherry and white. I simply want to see Temple first fulfill its primary “scholastic” potential. More later…)

    • My point on 1997 Pitt and 2016 UCF is that their improvement had very little to do with “investing heavily” in the sport. Pitt was far worse in the four prior years (before 1997) than Temple was THIS year. UCF was 0-12 the year before it won six games. Temple was 3-9 last year. The similarities, though, are interesting. Three new coaches. Renewed enthusiasm. That meant a fast turnaround. PLUS this year’s Temple has an advantage Pitt in 1997 and UCF in 2016 did not have … bringing in an influx of Power 5 level players to upgrade the talent pool. All signs are pointing to that this won’t be JUST a one-win improvement over last year. Six is more than a fair expectation. It’s not pie-in-the-sky.

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