TU-UConn: A case of de Ja Vu

If some of the old-timers like me felt a little bit of deja vu on Saturday, it could be understood.

The last time a lot of us remember Temple trailing at halftime and winning, 49-17, it was at Veterans Stadium and the year was 1979.

Head coach Wayne Hardin told me the story then.

“I turned to (defensive coordinator) Vince (Hoch) and said, ‘What do we do?’ He said, ‘I don’t know, coach, what do you think?”

Screenshot 2019-11-30 at 11.30.33 PM

Hardin thought about throwing the ball but instead decided to give the ball to a great running back from Coatesville named Sherman Myers. “Tank” scored five second-half touchdowns, then a Temple record, in a 49-17 win.

The difference between then and now?

That Syracuse team was one of only 30 bowl teams that year. So was Temple. Now there are 80 bowl teams in a watered-down college football landscape.

That Syracuse team had future NFL Hall of Famers Joe Morris and Art Monk.

I doubt that this UConn team will have a single future Hall of Famer and I know for certain that the Huskies are about as far away from a bowl as any program in the country.

The 49-17 score this time was cosmetic but it was pretty good makeup so the current Owls deserve a lot of credit for averting disaster. Call it lipstick on a pig.

Screenshot 2019-12-01 at 12.18.38 AM

When people all over the country see the final, they will think Temple took care of business the way Temple was expected to do so prior to the game as a 29.5-point favorite. What isn’t as noticeable in the boxscore is that UConn led for half of the game and Temple needs to play better if it is going to win a bowl game.

I talked to two former Temple quarterbacks (before the game) who shall remain nameless and mentioned to them that this offense is ill-suited to the talents of the best quarterback on the team, Anthony Russo. Temple needs to run the same offense with Russo it ran in the last two years with P.J. Walker. Ditch the spread and establish a power running game and only then throw off play-action fakes. They both said they are going to sit down with current head coach Rod Carey and take that argument to him.

Good luck with that because that’s really the only way Temple goes from 8-4 this year to 10-2 or better the next. This season went way too fast and Temple had way too much offensive talent to struggle to score 13 on Cincinnati last week.

Carey is going to have to be flexible, but there’s nothing in his history at Northern Illinois that suggests he’s anything but stubborn. Great coaches, though, design an offense that suits their talent and the next few months will tell if Carey is great or just good.

At Temple, just good won’t do.

Tuesday: Season Recap

Thursday: An Ideal Bowl Matchup


Game Day: Seniors and Sendoffs

Screenshot 2019-11-28 at 9.55.07 PM

By the luck of the draw of scheduling, the American Athletic Conference has given Temple the chore of sending off UConn in style.

The Owls are 29.5-point favorites and for good reasons. Rod Carey can probably run up the score on the Huskies if he chooses to do so and no one in the league offices would blame him.

Throwback Thursday: The infamous call at UConn

Bruce Francis’ TD catch to win the 2007 game was ruled incomplete by MAC refs but replay showed that Francis had a foot down and possession but the Big East replay official (Jack Kramer) refused to overturn the call in perhaps the most controversial ending of a Temple game in modern history.

Nor in the athletic offices over at the Star Complex on the campus of Temple University.

Temple was the team the then Big East decided to kick out of the league and UConn was the team that the league decided to replace the Owls with and, pretty much since then, Temple football has been on the ascent and UConn football pretty much on the decline. The year after Temple was kicked out, the Owls put up 56 on the Huskies in a game at Franklin Field that opened with Mac Fenton taking the kickoff to the house. That game finished 56-7.

Last year, the Owls did it one better, 57-7.

Even in the year the Huskies made the Fiesta Bowl, Temple hung a 30-16 number on the Huskies at Lincoln Financial Field.

UConn has told the league it no longer wants to play basketball in the conference but asked to continue playing football. It took Commissioner Mike Aresco all of about two minutes to essentially say: “We don’t want your crappy football program.”

So the Owls committing a program to the trash heap of college football with a big win today would be more than a fitting sendoff.

There is, though, a much more important chore at hand: Giving the seniors a big win in their final game at Lincoln Financial Field.

The Owls will lose perhaps the best three linebackers they’ve had on the same field in a long time: Shaun Bradley, Chapelle Russell and Sam Franklin. All played with a fierceness that benefited their single digits.

At the season ticket-holder party a couple of years ago, Russell sought me out like he seeks out quarterbacks but, instead of putting me on the ground hard, he extended his hand and said simply: “Thanks for coming.” I told him I thought the team would be a lot better than the projections and he responded: “We know it.”

Three years ago at the same function, Isaiah Wright and Linwood Crump Jr. were among the five people at my table. Wright called me “Mr. Mike” (I like that better than sir and Mr. Gibson) and asked me if I thought the stadium would be built by the time he was a senior. I said, “I don’t think so. Too much politics.” Sadly, it turned out I was right.

I’ll miss my yearly, albeit short, conversations with guys like Wright and Russell and what all of the seniors brought to the field during their careers. These guys deserve to see the Owls score early and often and, if Carey decides to run it up, nobody in the league office will get upset.

Sunday: Game Analysis

Tuesday: Regular Season Roundup

Thursday: Our Dream Bowl Matchup

Latest hit piece: Keep Temple’s name out of your mouth

Screenshot 2019-06-28 at 4.14.41 PM

No big fan of Donovan McNabb here, but his take on a controversy with Terrell Owens in 2005 applies to David Jones’ latest hit piece on Temple football almost 15 years later.

“Keep my name out of your mouth.”

Instead of “my” substitute “Temple’s” and it becomes a perfect retort.

Screenshot 2019-06-28 at 4.25.27 PM

Jones, who writes for Penn Live, had a strange take on UConn’s exit to the Big East (and apparent de-emphasis of football). He lumped UConn and Temple together, saying Temple should also de-emphasize football and insinuated that it should rejoin the A-10 at the expense of a football affiliation with the AAC.

That is a weak take on so many levels we’ll just concentrate on some here:

  • One, UConn is coming off a decade of failure in football while Temple has enjoyed a decade of sustained success.
  • Two, Temple is not trying to get into the P5. Sure, it would love a P5 invite but I think even the most optimistic Temple fans are not expecting one in the next decade. G5 football is a significant upgrade over FCS, though, and a proven spot where Temple can thrive. If Dave is saying the entire G5 should give up and drop to FCS, that’s one thing but I don’t think he’s saying that.
  • Three, Temple earned in addition to the millions off its AAC football contract, $6 million with the Manny Diaz buyout and $2.6 million with the Geoff Collins’ buyout. Rod Carey’s buyout is $10 million. Owls are not going to leave that money on the table by dropping to FCS.
  • Four, the AAC as currently constituted, is a better basketball conference than the A10 as currently constituted.

Why would Temple, which enjoys terrific football TV ratings and a steady uptick in football attendance, jeopardize any part of its football franchise to ostensibly prop up its basketball one?

I don’t know what his point was. Should Temple drop out of the G5 and the AAC even though it has the most regular-season league football wins since 2015? (More than UCF, Houston, Memphis and USF). That’s a little like the Dems asking Joe Biden to drop out before the first debate (although maybe he should drop out now after it). G5 is not big-time football but it’s certainly better for Temple than an A10 basketball/FCS football combo. (Good luck drawing flies in FCS football to the Linc.)

Plus, there is absolutely no assurance that investing in basketball at the expense of football would improve that product. Why not pursue excellence in the two marquee sports?

In college athletics, you can both walk and chew gum at the same time.

Temple can and should do both and ignore the haters who keep putting the Owls’ name in their mouths.

Monday: Our one week of vacation a year (and five best-of-TFF columns M-F)

July 8: A partnership that works

July 11: Roll call



UConn: Bye, Felicia!


My reaction over the weekend when it was leaked that the University of Connecticut would be leaving the AAC for the Big East was not unlike that Ice Cube gif (left).

Bye, Felicia!

Because no matter how much UConn huffed and puffed and tried to resuscitate its failing football program, the patient died as a result of some pretty bad administrative decisions. (Hiring a hot assistant doesn’t always work as Bob Diaco the assistant coach of the year for Notre Dame turned into a nightmare as a head coach for UConn.)

Really, what was the difference between what happened to Temple in 2003 and UConn now? The Big East then kicked Temple out for what it perceived to be (their words) “non-competitiveness” when, in reality, Temple was regularly beating some teams that the Big East decided to keep.

UConn was beating really nobody last year in football and its once dynamite men’s basketball program was in the middle of the league’s pack. (Hell, it’s now hard to pick out Geoff Collins’ worst loss: 2018 Villanova or 2017 UConn. Both times he played arguably the second-best quarterback on the team so it might be a toss-up.)

The AAC probably didn’t have the stones to kick out UConn like the Big East did to Temple back then so, in effect, what the UConn leaders did this week a favor to the AAC. There is no chance the league allows UConn to take out both of its good programs (men’s and women’s basketball) and leave its one crappy program (football).

Good riddance.

Temple, in my mind, belongs in the Power 5 but that doesn’t appear on the horizon soon and, failing that, we have to accept where we are now and UConn leaving the league improves our lot at least a little bit.

Now the American can add a team like BYU (not likely) or Buffalo/Army (more likely). They would have to figure out a way to flip the Army/Navy week and the league championship weeks and that might be an insurmountable hurdle. If so, then the league turns to Buffalo, which more fits the AAC profile of larger TV markets and has a program that is immediately ready to compete in the two highest-profile sports. AAC would have the top G5 market (Philadelphia, 4) plus Dallas-Ft. Worth (5), Washington D.C. (Navy, 9th), Tampa-St. Pete (USF, 13th), Orlando (UCF, 19th), Cincinnati (34th), Memphis (48th) and Buffalo (51) and New Orleans (Tulane, 53). That’s a lot of eyeballs.

Buffalo would be the logical choice, about the same distance away as UConn for Temple fans, and a current upgrade in both sports.

That should and will probably be the successful Northeast school that replaces the unsuccessful departed one.

Saturday: The Latest Hit Piece on Temple football

Monday: A Week of Best of TFFs



Back to the Bad Old Days

Anyone who has followed this space for the last dozen years of its existence knows where it started and where we left off last December.

From chronicling the depths of a 20-game losing streak to the glorious championship in a great league in December, the Temple program reached the lowest of the lows and pretty darn near the highest of the highs.

This team doesn’t
have a plan on offense,
other than throwing
the ball 54 times
a game. That’s not
the Temple football
we’ve all come to
know and love.
The Temple football
we love is running
Ryquell Armstead and
David Hood behind the
lead blocks of Nick
Sharga, and letting
that set up explosive
results downfield in
the play-action
passing game

Less than a year ago, many of these same Owls were holding and kissing a championship trophy in Annapolis.

Now, after a 28-24 loss to a UConn team that gave up 70 points a week ago, we can officially say we’re back to the bad old days.

Arguably, this is worse than the 20-game losing streak because those teams had no talent. This team has three of five starters returning on the offensive line,  a 900-yard running back, the best fullback in the country, the entire wide receiver corps, pretty much the entire defensive secondary and outstanding defensive linemen like Michael Dogbe, Sharrif Finch, Karamo Dioubate and Greg Webb. Al Golden had a plan and he stuck to it and saw it through to the school’s first appearance in a bowl game in 30 years. This team doesn’t have a plan on offense, other than throwing the ball 54 times a game. That’s not the Temple football we’ve all come to know and love. The Temple football we love is running Ryquell Armstead and David Hood behind the lead blocks of Nick Sharga, and letting that set up explosive results downfield in the play-action passing game.


Our hiring advice to Dr. Kraft the day Rhule quit.

There is plenty of championship level talent here and it is being squandered.

Whatever Golden lacked in game day acumen, he more than made up in being a brilliant CEO and terrific recruiter and Matt Rhule pretty much took the baton from Golden without fumbling it.

This team has plenty of talent, but has no plan and poor leadership at the top.

Would it absolutely kill
the Owls to start Anthony
Russo for a series or
two or even the first quarter
at Army? Certainly
not as much as the poor
quarterback play is
killing this
team now

Quarterback turnovers are killing this team and the CEO in charge doesn’t have the requisite gonads to make the change that is needed now. Would it absolutely kill the Owls to start Anthony Russo for a series or two or even the first quarter at Army? Certainly not as much as the poor quarterback play is killing this team now.  This offense needs a spark and a quarterback change is the best way to ignite that spark.

Logan Marchi isn’t as much the problem–the kid is trying hard but probably cannot see the field as well as a taller quarterback might–as the stubbornness from head coach Geoff Collins and  offensive coordinator Dave Patenaude of sticking with him when Collins said unequivocally that anyone who turns the ball over would sit.

That rule only applies to non-quarterbacks, evidently.

You have to wonder what Marchi has to do to earn a spot on the bench on this team. On the Pick 6, the ball was tipped ever so slightly and, had the Temple quarterback been 6-4 instead of 6-0, the pick 6 would not have happened.

After the Pick 6, what, exactly, does Collins say to the kid?

“That’s your ninth interception in league play,” Collins might say. “You can have 10, 11 and 12 but I’m drawing the line at 13.”


He probably does not say anything and that’s the even worse.

Collins has one of the best kickers in the country and, instead of using him with five minutes left to kick a field goal and cut it to one, he got greedy. Had Boomer kicked a field goal with five minutes left, it’s 28-27 and all the Owls would have had to do is get into field goal range again for the win. Instead, they put their hopes on the back of an erratic quarterback and asked him to throw the impossible Hail Mary pass.

After Rhule left, we wrote that it was time for Temple to hire a head coach, not an assistant. Temple had too much talent to have another head coach learn in the job and squander this much talent.

Golden was available, and that back to the future path probably should have been the road Dr. Pat Kraft had taken. UConn made the smart hire in Randy Edsall, a guy who knows how to win there.

Golden knows how to win here.

Instead, Kraft rolled the dice with Collins and, in a matter of months, Temple went from the Penthouse to the Outhouse.

Welcome back to the bad old days. We thought they ended roughly a dozen years ago but unless key personnel, philosophical and coaching changes are made on the offensive side of the ball, they are here to stay for a long time.

Tuesday: Fizzy’s Corner

Thursday: Thowback Day

Saturday: Stacking The Box

Homecoming: Prodigal Sons and Daughters Day


Even an 0-6 Temple team drew this kind of Homecoming crowd in 2013.

Expect to see a lot of new faces today at Homecoming.

It’s the one game of the year where the Temple soft core fan base merges forces with the hard cores like most of us.


The numbers show that even on bad years, the crowd never falls below the 25,000 range. Even when the Owls of first-year head coach Matt Rhule were 0-6, the game against Army drew in excess of 25,000. The photo above just shows the tailgate row entrance on that day.

Today’s weather should be great, with a temperature 13 degrees above the normal 66-degree day on Oct. 14. I’m expecting a crowd between 27,000 and 29,000, somewhere in that area. Anything above that would be gravy. If the Owls put on a good show on the field, maybe some of the fans will develop a taste for more and come out to the remaining home games.

In the long-term, a stadium on Temple’s campus would bring about an enhanced benefit of attracting more alumni back to the main campus. Homecoming is the one time of the year where thousands of fans who do not normally attend Temple games do come back.

Maybe the on-campus stadium experience will be better for them, maybe not.

Us hard cores will take in the sights as we do every year and wish for the day that these Prodigal Sons and Daughters—especially those who live in the five-country area surrounding the campus—cross over from the dark side to see the light.

Tomorrow: Game Analysis

Throwback Thursday: The Day the Owls Were In First Place in a BCS Conference

Chris Coyer talks about the fateful two-minute drill.

Five games into the season and there are so many theories about how the 2012 football season was going to play out for the Temple Owls.

Prior to the fifth game, I had a premonition that this was going to be a “16-13 or 21-14 game” and I wrote that in my Friday post, adding “go with the Owls.”

I was wrong.

It wasn’t 16-13 or 21-14.

It was 17-14.

And they needed overtime.

Close enough, and I got the right side.

We all know now how the first five games have played out, with the Owls winning more than they have lost and being unbeaten in the all-important conference games.

My reaction to UConn players walking through the halls.

Still, though, my belief turned into absolute metaphysical certainty only when I found myself sharing the same hotel as the UConn players, the Sheraton in Rock Hill, CT.

Not having a refrigerator in the room, I had to get up every two hours in the middle of the night and walk down the hall to keep my tailgate, err, stuff cold. My makeshift “refrigerator” was a trash can filled with ice that kept melting. So I needed frequent refills.


Owls celebrate on UConn’s field after Brandon McManus’ game-winning OT kick.

Each time I opened my door, I saw two or three UConn players wearing Huskie sweat clothes walking aimlessly through the halls.

At least it looked like aimlessly to me.

Later that morning, fellow Temple fan–the late, great Phil Makowski–and I slipped into the hotel meeting room and came away with a UConn playbook left on a seat by a backup running back. Phil snuck the playbook under his hoodie. On the way out, George DeLeone–who was coaching UConn at the time–noticed our Temple gear and gave us a nod and a smile. We smiled back.

At the same time, I was being told that Temple ran plays in the parking lot at its team hotel on the other side of town in Cromwell and also received texts from that hotel saying the Owls were safely tucked in their beds and not wandering the halls.

As a Temple fan, you cannot have this kind of fun at a watch party when it’s a short road trip to watch the Owls play. So that’s why I try to get to places like UConn, Army, Navy, Maryland and Rutgers when the Owls are playing road games. Stories like this you don’t get from watch parties.

I didn’t know UConn head coach Paul Pasqualoni was lax on the discipline end, but the evidence seem to have suggested otherwise.

As a Temple fan,
you cannot have
this kind of fun
at a watch party
when it’s a short
road trip to watch
the Owls play.
So that’s why I try
to get to places
like UConn, Army,
Navy, Maryland and
Rutgers when the
Owls are playing
road games


Although Maryland in 2011 was hard to top, this 2012 game at UConn was the topper.  The Owls won wearing the best uniform combination they have–all Cherry pants, Cherry helmets, broken white stripes down the side, white jerseys.

Brandon McManus won the game with a clutch overtime field goal, setting off the wildest away celebration I’ve ever seen from the Owls.

“We were going to get the ball in the middle of the field and let the best kicker in college football win it for us and that’s just what happened,” head coach Steve Addazio said.
Coach Wayne Hardin used to always say, “run when they expect you to pass and throw when they expect you to run.” A simple but effective philosophy taken from the old shell game. He wasn’t considered an offensive genius for nothing. Temple’s offensive philosophy was just enough to win on that day, but defensive coordinator Chuck Heater turned out to be the genius when he shut out the Huskies in the second half.

“You’re a genius, Chuck,” I said, as we were waiting for the players to board the bus afternoon.

“It’s not me, it’s the boys,” Heater said.

Chuck Heater loved Philadelphia the two years he was here and I thought he did a very good job as DC. He would bike from Center City to the campus every day.

Offensively, Steve Addazio was stubborn but a running back from, ironically, Boston College, saved him that day.

Temple’s Montel Harris had 28 carries for 142 yards and a touchdown, but Daz sent him wide on an ill-advised fourth and inches call which was stopped. On that play, center Sean Boyle was left uncovered and quarterback Chris Coyer could have gone 20 yards on a sneak. Coyer absolved those sins with what I believe is the most clutch throw I’ve ever seen from a Temple quarterback and I’ve seen a lot of clutch throws. A perfectly thrown pass across his body to Jalen Fitzpatrick in the corner of the end zone to send the game into overtime on a tremendously executed two-minute drill.

At the time, I did not know what the harm was in a play-action throw every once in a while on first down, not third, or rolling Coyer out with quick slants to Jalen Fitzpatrick and Ryan Alderman to set up success in the running game. The way that team was constructed, the run can never set up the pass. It’s not going to work. It’s got had the other way around. Things have changed for Temple since, and so has the offensive philosophy.

Different strokes for different folks.

That’s the kind of stuff that has to be locked down in the gameplan as well as bedcheck has been.

Temple was tucked away dreaming of first place in a BCS Conference and, for a day at least, those dreams came true.

The current Owls would be wise to sleep tight in their hotel on this Friday night to avoid the same mistake UConn made in 2012. That, and make sure the playbooks are all accounted for after any morning meetings.

Saturday: Homecoming Prodigals Return

The Final (Home) Chapter of #LeaveNoDoubt

No one knows if Bryant Shirreffs will play for against Temple for UConn tonight (7 p.m., Lincoln Financial Field), but the general consensus is that Shirreffs is the more athletic of the two Huskies’ quarterbacks.


It should not surprise former Temple head coach Wayne Hardin. Shirreffs’ grandfather, Jack, was a star two-way end some of Hardin’s great Navy teams in the late 1950s and will no doubt be in attendance on Saturday night. Shirreffs is organizing a golf outing with Hardin’s ex-Temple and ex-Navy players for the coach’s 90th birthday.

The Temple-Shirreffs’ connection doesn’t end there as Bryant has a brother, Evan, who was recruited by former Temple head coach Al Golden and is at Miami.

Whatever happens, the Shirreffs and UConn will be there for the final home chapter of Temple’s #LeaveNoDoubt season. A year ago, a senior halfback who should have been fullback named Kenny Harper told his teammates to Leave No Doubt next season and that became this season’s battle cry. Temple has never worried about what the opposition does, only what it will do, and it will take that mantra into tonight.


Right now, UConn head coach Bob Diaco is using the old “day-to-day” designation regarding Shirreffs and it could be an important one because there is a significant dropoff between No. 1 and No. 2.  Shirreffs, a sophomore, has started all 11 games for the 6-5 Huskies but took a blow to the head on the second series of the 20-17 win over Houston. He has completed 158 of 262 passes for nine touchdowns and seven interceptions, amassing 1,992 yards. Boyle went 12 for 22 for 110 yards.


Another injury that might be just as important is UConn tight end Tommy Myers, who will not play on Saturday. The Huskies like to utilize two tight ends almost as much as Temple and they might have to scale back an already limited package.

Fun fact: UConn beat Villanova, 20-15, but not as bad as Ivy League co-champion Penn did (24-13).


The Elephant in the Room: Part II

Steve Addazio needs to make a  strong statement  today or leave tomorrow.

Some time ago, I wrote a story about Al Golden’s first dalliances for a new job.
It wasn’t five minutes after he was hired, but too soon for my taste.
I called the post: The Elephant in the Room because a lot of Temple people just didn’t want to talk about it.
Call this one The Elephant in the Room Part II.
A report out of the Hartford Courant newspaper, not some anonymous blogger, links current Temple head coach Steve Addazio’s “representative” contacting the UConn search committee about the current football opening there.
Because this report was in an actual newspaper last night and supposedly confirmed today, I think it might have some legs.
I’m willing to give Addazio the benefit of the doubt, though.
For now and not for long.

If I was UConn, I’d avoid Steve Addazio like the plague. The PR hit the school would take for “stealing” a coach just hired by another school is just not worth it

I just can’t fathom a guy who got up on the podium two weeks ago telling people how excited he was to be here could do such an about-face because another job comes open, even a job in his home state.
I can’t picture how the guy who kept mentioning “Destination Temple” can change that speech to “Destination UConn” so quickly.
If I was UConn, I’d avoid Steve Addazio like the plague. The PR hit the school would take for “stealing” a coach just hired by another school is just not worth it. Plus, Addazio is no more the slam dunk hiring for UConn that he would be here. So far, his OL hiring is a grad assistant and his strength coach is a guy from Marshall, who supposedly made no real positive impact at Marshall. Also, Florida co-DC Chuck Heater, who was rumored to be coming here with Daz, is nowhere in sight nor are any big-time recruits from Florida (the state, not the school) that Daz might have been connected to prior to his hiring.
Something smells like dead fish out there.
Would a guy leave a job he was hired two weeks ago for a similar job 200 miles away?
I don’t know.
Stranger things have happened, though.
This is one elephant that can’t be ignored.
This is one time Temple people can’t stick their heads in the sand and hope the Elephant finds its way out of the room on its own. This is too vital a time for recruiting both coaches and players. This doesn’t need to float out there in cyberspace any more than the 18 hours it already has been out there.
If Bill Bradshaw doesn’t get to the bottom of this today, then Ann Weaver Hart or Lew Katz need to get Addazio to address this right now.
If Steve Addazio doesn’t come out and say this report is totally false and that he is totally 100 percent committed to Temple University, then he should be fired and Temple should feel free to pursue Bruce Arians (the best choice, IMHO) or Tom Bradley, outcome of the UConn search notwithstanding. Even if UConn hires, say, Mark Whipple later this week, this story will be out there and in the folder of every coach who recruits against us this year and next to question Addazio’s commitment here. Addazio might not think he needs to reaffirm it, but he does. That’s the way of life in the real world.
There’s an Elephant in the Room today and the more people ignore it, the more damage it is likely to do.

Why the MAC hates Temple

By Mike Gibson
I’m always wary of people I don’t know patting me on the back.
It’s those people who I always meet with an askanse eye, checking to see if there’s a knife in the other hand.
I learned this lesson as it relates to Temple football early in the season, as early as late August.

Dan LeFevour
in front of a billboard
of himself

After a few visits to the MAC bulletin board, a healthy number of posters wished Temple good luck against Army and, by the way, come back with a win.
Nobody mentioned that Army was a bad team in any of those 37 posts.
Yet, after Temple beat Army, 35-7, a roughly equal number of posts all carried this troubling theme:
“Good win against Army but, let’s face it, that’s the worst Army team we’ve seen in years.”
Because it lost to Temple, 35-7?
Obviously, that was the unsaid message.
Nobody is saying that any more because it really carries no weight, not after what Army did to Tulane (44-13) in New Orleans this past weekend.
Let’s face it: The rest of the MAC, with notable exceptions such as Karl Smith of PhillyBurbs.com, hates Temple.
Or at least a good sizeable portion of the MAC fanbase dislikes the Owls.
They mitigate anything good the Owls have done by saying “yeah, but.” After Army, it was “yeah but” and after Miami it was “yeah but.”
I respect a guy like Joe Paterno of Penn State a lot more. Not only does he slam the Big East refs for costing the Owls two games against UConn, he says his team’s 45-3 win would have been “a lot closer” had “the DiMichele kid not been knocked out so early. I feel sorry for Temple.”
You know Joe means what he says.
There are two guys running MAC websites who have NEVER picked the Owls in a game against another MAC team, yet the Owls have won two MAC games on the road and more at home in the last three years.
“Temple should have beat
UConn. It completed a pass
on the first play of overtime
that took the ball down to the 1
and it was called back on a hold,
which was a bad, bad, bad call.”
_Penn State coach Joe Paterno
on his statewide radio show

It’s not logic. It’s hate. Or an intense dislike.
The motive is simple.
Nobody wants a ex-BCS team kicked out of a BCS conference coming in and dominating a league known for some pretty good football.
Nobody wants a team carrying a bad “brand name” like Temple carrying the conference’s championship trophy around Ford Field come December. It doesn’t matter that the Temple they are thinking about is the “same old Temple” and not the group of Grade A recruits hauled in by Al Golden the past three seasons.
That’s why I’m wary about this week’s game at Central Michigan.

Let’s hope for a clean,
well-played, game decided
by the kids on the field
and not the adults
wearing prison outfits

Not only do the Owls have to deal with the league’s best healthy quarterback, Dan LeFevour, they have to deal with refs who have that built-in mindset.
It was manifested last year in a home game against Northern Illinois when one side judge called 10 of the 11 penalties, almost all bogus, against the Owls in a 16-15 win.
It was manifested against visiting Western Michigan a couple of weeks ago when the MAC supervisor of officials apologized to Temple for calling a sideline interference call on the Owls’ coaches after Temple got a crucial third-down stop and was able to force WMU to punt in the fourth quarter.
The guy who called the sideline interference call? Same guy as in the NIU game. He should be fired or at least investigated.
Good officiating means never having to say you’re sorry. It’s gotten so ridiculous at times this year that every time Temple makes a big play or scores a touchdown, I expect to see a flag.
This kid LeFevour is really good. Central Michigan purchased a billboard (pictured) of him and put it in the middle of the Detroit stadium complex. He’s a load to worry about on his own, playing for a good team. I don’t want to worry about him AND the officials, yet two days before the game that’s just what I’m worrying about.
Let’s hope for a clean, well-played, game decided by the kids on the field and not the adults wearing prison outfits.

What they’re saying about the Owls:
… “They out-physicaled us up front. It’s really the first time we’ve come out of a game feeling like we didn’t control the line of scrimmage. Even Nebraska, we kind of thought was a wash.” _ Western Michigan coach Bill Cubitt talking about Temple…

… “I was told by a lot of people before the game that Temple is really good but, man, this team has all kinds of weapons.” _ Ohio News Network sports director Andy Raskin during the telecast of Temple vs. Miami on ESPN360.com…

…”What my Owls have done this year–and I will call them ‘my Owls’ because I’ve been on this team since the beginning–is sensational considering they lost their starting quarterback. … Maybe people are starting to realize that this is one of the top defenses in the country.” _ Vegas handicapper Robert Ferringo…

…”They have high-caliber athletes all over the place. That’s the hardest-hitting team we’ve played all year. I’ve never been this beat up after a game.” _ Western Michigan offensive guard Phil Swanson…

…”It was just two great teams. Both Temple and us have made great strides and I don’t think there are two better teams in our league than us and them.” _ Buffalo tight end Jesse Rack, after a Hail Mary pass beat Temple, 30-28, at the buzzer…