Bowl or Bust for Owls is a minimum expectation

In a perfect off-season Temple football world, Stan Drayton would have convinced Carson Steele to make the jump from Ball State to the Owls and he would have given currently unemployed defensive coordinator Chuck Heater the same job at Temple.

Off and running, at least in my opinion, toward a POSSIBLE American Athletic Conference championship on Dec. 2, 2023, at Lincoln Financial Field.

I make a slight cameo in here way in the background (fortunately).

Honestly cannot have those expectations now because at least in those two areas the Owls came up short in the planning and hiring departments.

In the last six years where Heater was a sole DC, his defenses held opponents under 20 points per game. In the same six years as a sole DC, Drayton’s hire–buddy Everett Withers–allowed opposing offenses over 30 points a game.

Big difference.

Bigger difference is in the running game, though.

Instead of adding one of the 21 portal players who were 1,000-yard running backs, the Owls went for a guy from a worse team, FIU, who had half the yards of their own Edward Saydee. In case you missed it, the Owls were 131st in run-game efficiency and Saydee was their No. 1 back.

There are only 131 teams in FBS football and, after that, that’s where the FCS starts.

Not good.

Terrible, in fact.

Couldn’t be worse.


E.J. Wilson was that guy and I think Saydee will hold off that challenge and keep his job. Steele would have taken it.

Steele went to UCLA and another 1,000-yard back, Sean Tyler (Western Michigan), committed to Minnesota. Despite those being two P5 teams, I really that Temple could have convinced one to come East due to the fact that Drayton is a Running Game whisperer and the Owls really, really needed a stud running back. (UCLA and Minny didn’t have anywhere near the same need.)

Adding a Heater and a Steele would have gotten me pumped about an AAC title run for the Owls. Add both and I put money on it.

I’ve recalibrated my expectations just a little. It’s not championship or bust but bowl game or bust. If this team doesn’t win at least six games, I fear for the future of the sport at Temple.

I think one of the new AAC teams (UTSA or UAB) or even holdover Memphis or ECU are way more likely than the Owls to win the title this season.

Prove me wrong, Stan.

One of those “prove me wrong games” will come Oct. 7, when UTSA with quarterback Frank Walker is in Philly to play Temple and quarterback E.J. Warner in Homecoming Game guaranteed to sell over 30,000 tickets.

Win that game and the Owls might surprise everyone.

Still, the reason it’s bowl or bust is this.

One, you are coming off a 3-9 season that was twice as good as the prior 3-9 season from a competitive standpoint.

Two, you did a much better job keeping players than most of your league competitors.

Three, your schedule is the third-easiest one in all of FBS football.

All of those factors add up to at least six wins, hopefully, more.

If the Owls shock the world and host the AAC title game at the Linc, not getting that big-time running back or big-time DC would not have mattered.

Nothing would make me happier.

Or, really, any Owl fan.

Monday: How to Fix College Football

Friday: A 42-year run comes to an end


9 thoughts on “Bowl or Bust for Owls is a minimum expectation

  1. Touching on a few points…

    Heater was never an option. He is 70 years old and not interested in full-time on field roles at this point. He’s also not a big fan of the current the NIL/portal environment.

    Withers’ resume when looked at in full gives better indication of the success he will have here. Cherry picking data does to attempt correlation does not mean it will result in causation here.

    I’m less concerned about the RB room due to the strength at the TE position. You can replicate short yardage running through Bill Walshing to the TE. I would not sleep on Kyle Williams. Saydee to his credit improved as last season went on. It’s tough to compete against UCLA for RB as their program does such a good job of featuring the RB for NFL teams.

    I would keep away from bust analogies after seeing how that worked for Aaron McKie this past year. Tournament or bust did not end well. I do think Stan is better at his job than Aaron was at his. Talent level on this team is better than a year ago. Team does not have a full two-deep roster yet. Depth will be an issue until we get to next season’s recruiting cycle. Six wins is a best case.

    No worry as of now over the school axing the program, but I am interested to see who replaces Wingard on a permanent basis. I see larger risk for non-revenue producing sports.

    Larger concern is the future relationship with the AAC. We do not make geographic sense. TUFB needs a TV presence to even hope to get to any other conference. Games on ESPN+ are not the way to get there.

    • It’s not Cherry-picking data to take his resume as a sole DC and look at it. When you are a “co-DC” you don’t know who gets the credit for success. It might be 70 percent one guy, 30 percent the other guy. His record as a sole DC is objectively abysmal. It’s Apples to Apples. Any other analysis is Apples to Oranges. I can’t believe Temple couldn’t have found someone with a better DC resume. As far as bust, if Temple with the third-easiest schedule in college football can’t finish in the top 80, something is wrong with the leadership. It’s not much of an ask to move into the top 2/3ds. This isn’t the schedule Arians or even Rhule had to face (Matt’s schedules were 87th and 89th when he won 10 games). The 129th-ranked schedule is about as low as Temple’s ever gone (Arians’ 1984 and 1986 seasons the Owls played the 10th-toughest schedule in the nation and still were able to win six both times). I haven’t seen one interview where Heater said he was done with coaching. If you have one, please link it below. The greater point is that with 131 college teams, I guaranteed you there are guys with better DC resumes than Everett who Drayton could have convinced to come to Temple.

      • By this logic, Belichick never should have been hired to coach the Patriots due to his record in Cleveland. If apples to apples works, he lasts 4 seasons in NE and finishes with a losing record. But the logic is flawed. Withers is not Belichick, but he is a good coach. He was the best option considering the timing of the situation. He is keeping the current system in place, which is a good move on his part.

        I don’t know that Heater has done any interviews on this, but I’ve heard the same thing on his coaching interest on this from three different people connected to him.

        Interesting trivia on Heater. We’ve heard a lot about simulated pressures in the Temple program. Heater was one of the original pioneers of it over 20 years ago.

  2. Possible/definite portal names from Coach Drayton’s area of expertise that he might be able to entice one or both to come north. Chance is slim, but at least there’s a chance. Either of them would be about the highest rated player to come into the program for some time.

    …a lot of the attention on Texas football this offseason has been on the quarterback room, …. it’s likely that another former highly-recruited quarterback, Maalik Murphy, could transfer out.

    However, it’s one of the guys that any of these three signal-callers could be throwing to that is for sure going into the portal, former 4-star wide receiver Brenen Thompson.

    Thompson has requested to enter the transfer portal when the window officially re-opens on April 15, as reported by Nick Harris of Rivals.

    Thompson only had one reception for 32 yards as a true freshman a year ago, but saw the field in nine games, a clear sign that head coach Steve Sarkisian had high hopes for the Top 150 recruit in the 2022 recruiting class.

    . (From FanSided)

    • I like our wide receiver room with Amad Anderson, Richard Dandridge, Dante Wright, Dwan Mathis, Zae Baines. More pressing need is a RB. I have to laugh at people saying the Eagles need the Texas RB. I think the Eagles are fine with Gainwell and Scott, two VERY underrated backs. They got the guy from Seattle. Eagles need to draft two Georgia defenders. Temple doesn’t even have underrated backs. They are no rated. The P5 guys we got in the portal were busts (the Illinois kid, the Texas A&M kid, etc.). They were backups or part-time backs in the P5 for a reason. We needed an FCS star or a lower-tier FBS star. Portal should be addressing needs, somewhat like what the draft should be to the Eagles. If I had a dollar for every time one of our backs stumbled and hit a knee just short of the first-down marker last year instead of maintaining balance (ala Matty Brown-style), spinning and getting that first down, I wouldn’t be a millionaire but I’d at least have a couple more hundred bucks.

      • dept will be an issue through the 2025 recruiting cycle/season

        OL is stacked w/guards. zero tackles on the roster who with the potential to be all-aac third or fourth team

        IMHO, TU will abandon the run in favor of short throws (impossible to be effective running the football w/o tackles capable of moving the line of scrimmage)

        and, who in the RB room has the potential to be all-aac?

      • Nobody. For a man who has great peripheral vision, running back is a blind spot. Ironic because he was not only a great RB but a great RB coach.

      • speaking about blind spots, AG was great as well but he never was able to recruit a great quarterback. (Adam DiMichele was a Bobby Wallace-influenced recruit. Bobby recruited ADM’s brother and that led to ADM coming here.).

      • KJ is correct here. Roster is better. Depth is an issue. TE will play big role in covering production from the RB spot. Saydee needs to continue his improvement from second half of the season. Kyle Williams is a wild card at RB.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s