Photo in post below courtesy of Zamani Feelings
Perhaps the best thing to happen in Philadelphia sports this week was the worst thing to happen for Temple football.
The Phillies won that first game in Philadelphia on Tuesday which meant that a Saturday night World Series game would be played and have the attention of the entire city including the “casual” Temple fans who make up at least half of the fan base.
I had a chance to visit the campus yesterday and picked up a copy of The Temple News. The story on the front page wasn’t about being excited for the Temple football game against visiting USF on Saturday but about how much Temple students were into the recent success of the Phillies. The Temple football game wasn’t even mentioned, not even farther back in the sports section. They were interviewed about what they were going to do the rest of the week and their plans revolved around the rest of the World Series.
This city loves a winner and, even though the Phillies lost on Thursday night, they will still be playing for something meaningful on Nov. 5. Temple will be playing out the string on Nov. 5 and whatever games are left after that.
Those are the hard, cold facts.
Even though the Temple game is at 2 and the Phillies game is at 8, that has to affect the attendance from the perspective of people driving in from the suburbs or catching a weekend regional rail schedule where the trains to the suburbs are two hours apart (pre-pandemic, for example, they have spaced only an hour apart on Saturday). My guess is that a lot of people will say bleep it and stay at home to watch what might be the last baseball game of the season.
That means the Owls will be playing in front of roughly 10-12,000 die-hard fans at Lincoln Financial Field in search of their first league win.
The Owls made their bed by first not winning the Homecoming Game against Rutgers–their best chance to keep a large following–but also by sleepwalking through the subsequent games.
Some terrible offensive coaching last week (a pass targeting their second-best pass-catching tight end was dropped and zero thought in play calling with a first-and-goal at the 5 in regulation when Temple had to score to win) robbed them of their first real chance of a league win.
Now they have perhaps one more. Vegas had USF favored by 3.5 points going into the game and some money went Temple’s way as the Owls were bet down to three as of Thursday night.
That’s a tepid acknowledgment that USF is bad, too.
Who will win?
Who knows but for this Temple fan I’ve been hoping for the offense to show up for a month now and all hope has gotten me is three points against Memphis, 13 points against UCF, 9 offensive points against Tulsa, and 13 offensive points against Navy.
Those are the kinds of numbers that get an OC fired at a place like, say, Rutgers (which happened earlier this year). For some reason, first-year head coach Stan Drayton has not felt the same sense of urgency that coach Greg Schiano has at Rutgers.
At some point, the post-game analysis needs to shift from “they lost but played hard” to “they found a way to win.”
Saturday, in front of a sparse crowd at the Linc, would be a good time for that narrative to be born.
Late Saturday Night: Game Analysis
Picks this week: After an unbeaten Thursday night, going to sit this one out due to nothing jumping out at me as a mistake by Vegas. Record for the season: 22-17 ATS. (If I was going to bet, would take the under 39.5 in the AF at Army game because the under is 42-9 in the last 51 service academy games.)