Temple’s Dream Scenario

Hooter lifting the National Championship trophy. (Photoshop byChris Ventura from Rappid Development, a company run by recent Temple grads)

Hooter lifting the National Championship trophy.
(Photoshop by Chris Ventura from Rappid Development, a company run by recent Temple grads)

All of those “one-game-at-a-time” people please leave the room right now. As if what we’re about to discuss in the following paragraphs has any impact in Temple winning or losing a game on the field the rest of the way.

Are they all gone?

OK.

Now we can talk.

No one even put on the pads yesterday at Temple, but the Owls won by Memphis beating Cincinnati, 53-46, last night. The win drove another stake into Cincy’s hopes for winning the AAC East and put Temple squarely on the road to the AAC title game. Cincy looks like it will go on to a great season, either with Gunner Kiel or Hayden Moore as its quarterback. Memphis’ defense looks as vulnerable to Robby Anderson as it did in 2013. The only difference is that this time Robby has plenty of help.

Now onto the dream scenario: The BCS/Power 5 conglomerate has rigged the system by making it almost impossible for a Group of Five team like Temple to crash their national championship party.

The emphasis is on the word almost for a reason.

A Temple-Miami national semifinal would shut a lot of people up.

A Temple-Miami national semifinal would shut a lot of people up.

Temple is perhaps the only team in the G5 with a possibility of crashing the party due to having already beaten a team that can (but probably won’t) win the Big 10 championship coupled with another top 10 team in Notre Dame. So Temple is not just carrying the banner for 275,000 alumni, 39,000 students and 12,000 employees and the city of Philadelphia, but for the half of college football teams in the country being forced to play under a morally and financially corrupt system. If the Owls can break through the injustice, it would be a dream come true for those locked out of the P5.

The dream scenario would be this:

  • Temple runs the table and finishes 13-0 (12 regulars and the home win against Navy in the AAC title game);
  • Memphis beats everyone but Temple and Navy;
  • Cincinnati has a solid season to boost Temple’s rating, following its win over the fake Miami with a win over the real Miami;
  • The real Miami wins the ACC;
  • Penn State wins the Big 10;
  • Notre Dame finishes with one loss.

It would be impossible for the conglomerate to keep Temple out of the semifinal playoff under that scenario or even a scenario that fit all but one of those criteria. (For example, PSU can still have a great season but doesn’t have to win the Big 10.)

At 3-0 and with nine games left it is too early, but the fact that Temple fans can even dream this is really something special. So let the fans dream and the players and coaches take the one game at a time. Maybe the national semifinal game will be against Al Golden. (That would make the “Temple coach=Temple results” banners look really silly.) Now we can go.

All of those “one-game-at-a-time” people can return to the room right now.

fifteensked

Tomorrow: Saturday TV

Truth Hurts: There Will Be No Bowl

Tommy Tuberville coolly counted down the seconds with his glove to call timeout at the appropriate times to beat Temple yesterday, a stark contrast to his counterpart.

Tommy Tuberville coolly counted down the seconds with his glove to call timeout at the appropriate times to beat Temple yesterday, a stark contrast to his counterpart.

That old saying that “the truth hurts” came in the press conference after Temple’s 14-6 loss to Cincinnati and it was offered up in helpings in this Thanksgiving Day leftover:

“Every game there are different reasons why you win or you lose. I put this game squarely on me,” Temple head coach Matt Rhule said. “Mismanagement of the clock, mismanagement of timeouts, timeouts down the stretch that we had to use early on for ridiculous reasons that the head coach is responsible for. That hurt us. We didn’t have a chance to stop the clock or keep that game going despite the really heroic effort from those guys on defense. As I told the team, that’s on me. There’s nobody else you can point at.”

He’e right, for one of the few times this season. Really, though, was anyone surprised?

"Every game there are different reasons why you win or you lose. I put this game squarely on me. Mismanagement of the clock, mismanagement of timeouts, timeouts down the stretch that we had to use early on for ridiculous reasons that the head coach is responsible for ..."

“Every game there are different reasons why you win or you lose. I put this game squarely on me. Mismanagement of the clock, mismanagement of timeouts, timeouts down the stretch that we had to use early on for ridiculous reasons that the head coach is responsible for …”

This guy uses timeouts like they are eight in each half, not three, and it has been going on like this for almost two full years now. Timeouts for things that should have been taken care of during the week in that $17 million practice facility Temple University paid money for by paid professionals who Temple University is paying good money to do those jobs. St. Joseph’s Prep, a team that practices a few blocks away 17th and Thompson’s Brady Athletic Field, gets those things done during the week and is flawless on gameday because of it but Temple does not and is not.

This game was over long before it should have because those paid professionals are not doing the jobs they are paid to do and, because of that–win or no win over Tulane–there will be no bowl. Temple is limping to the end of the season, much like the 2010 team limped to an 8-4 record that nobody wanted. The numbers are just not good for Temple. There CURRENTLY are 80 teams bowl eligible for 76 slots and there will be more eligible teams after next week.

There is a very real chance that even with a win over Tulane–and that’s not a given due to the fact that this coaching staff refuses to use a blocking fullback to even TRY to jump-start an anemic running game–no one will want this team, either.

Fans left the game with five minutes left because they knew there was no way Temple could stop the clock  due to the incompetence of the coaching staff.  By the time they got to the parking lot, the game was on several televisions and those fans could see a clear image of Cincinnati Tommy Tuberville counting down 3 … 2 … 1 … with his gloves and then pointing to the official to call a timeout.

That was a telling image. A paid professional clearly in control of the situation, with the paid professional on the other side of the field acting like a turkey with his head cut off.

Will the real Temple please stand up?

The gross underuse of this talented player is borderline criminal.

Back on Cherry and White Day, I thought this version the Owls would be a winner for a variety of reasons.

First, I thought the players would play like crazed dogs, preferably pit bulls, to prove to the skeptical general Temple community that they were right in calling for Temple to hire Matt Rhule as a head coach.

Second, I thought Rhule would use his knowledge of the personnel to put them in the best position to win.

Wrong on both counts so far.

The Owl Club will host three watch parties tonight.

The Owl Club will host three watch parties tonight.

Instead, I detect a “comfortableness” with Rhule and I don’t see a team, particularly on the previous five Saturdays they lined up, that played like their hair was on fire. Quite the opposite. I see a team going through the motions way too much. Even against Notre Dame, the one game I thought they played “hard” they did not play “smart.”

Will the real Temple please stand up tonight against Cincinnati?

What is the real Temple?

Well, the team that I saw go 26-12 from 2009 to 2011 played like crazy every time out.  They won most of the time, played with a swagger and played smart. If that team played Fordham and Idaho, those games would have been over by halftime. They had a killer instinct this team does not appear to have. They also had a future NFL running back named Bernard Pierce. This team also has a future NFL running back, Zaire Williams. It’s just that they never use him. That’s one of the many things that separates Al Golden from Matt Rhule.

Bobby Wallace checking in?

Bobby Wallace checking in?

It’s also where the putting “personnel in a position to win” comment comes into play.

When you have a talent on the team like Chris Coyer, truly in my mind one of the most unique talents in the American Athletic Association,  maybe in America, why haven’t you maximized that weapon? Here is a kid who can run and throw and catch, yet the only use I’ve seen the coaching staff make of him has been to target him once or twice a game as a tight end. Occasionally they put him in as a Wildcat quarterback, where everybody and his kid brother knows he is going to run the ball. Effectively, they are utilizing only 1/3 of the smorgasboard offense he brings to the table.

As I would tell my dog (if I had one), bad coaching staff. Bad, bad coaching staff.

The gross underuse of this talented player is borderline criminal.

Back on Cherry and White Day, I was told that Coyer would be used as a fullback and a tight end and that Coyer would be used to throw a “stealth” (i.e., trick) pass or two each game in addition to his running the ball straight ahead like the speedy fullback he would be.  As a fullback or tight end, he can be the recipient of a pitchout where he can chuck it down the field or run the ball. That way, whenever Coyer got the ball, the defense would not know what was coming and deception works, as Albert Einstein might say, in all sorts of endeavors. That opens things up for Williams and the run game and P.J. Walker and the passing game.

That’s the real Temple team I envisioned back in April. I hope it finally shows up tonight.

Temple could learn a lot from Cincinnati

Four BE titles in five years  helped fund renovations in Nippert Stadium.

Four BE titles in five years helped fund renovations in Nippert Stadium.

Since 2005, Temple has had four head coaches: Bobby Wallace, Al Golden, Steve Addazio and Matt Rhule.
Since 2005, Cincinnati has had six head coaches: Mark Dantonio, Brian Kelly, Jeff Quinn, Butch Jones, Steve Stripling and, now, Tommy Tuberville.

Cincinnati doesn't seem to be bothered by multiple coaching changes.

Cincinnati doesn’t seem to be bothered by multiple coaching changes.

One of the reasons Rhule was hired was to stop the bleeding of coaches at 10th and Diamond.
The thinking was that the kids needed the stability of one coach and they could not go through the trauma of having a new coach every other year.
So, rather than get a big-time winning head coach, Temple University “settled” on someone no other FBS school even heard about or considered hiring, Rhule.

The coaching turnover doesn’t seem to affect Cincinnati, whose model is to get the best possible winning head coach available, rather than go after an assistant coach. Cincy got both Kelly and Butch Jones from Central Michigan, where they proved they could win as a head coach. There was no guessing and hoping that they’d win once they got to the big city.

And win they did.  After Kelly gave Cincy two Big East titles, Jones gave them two more. Coaches come and go at Cincinnati, like Temple, a prestigious major urban school but, unlike Temple, the administration went out and spent the big bucks needed to get the best available head coach with a proven winning record.

The Owls are only 1 game with 5 Chris Coyer passes off reverses, 5 CC runs and 5 CC catches from this kind of celebration at the end of the Cincy game. Sadly, since this  coaching staff appears  too stubborn to try that approach, can't  in  good faith pick an Owl upset Friday night. Click over the Hoosiers for my upset specials.

The Owls are only 1 game with 5 Chris Coyer passes off reverses, 5 CC runs and 5 CC catches from this kind of celebration at the end of the Cincy game. Sadly, since this coaching staff appears too stubborn to try that approach, can’t in good faith pick an Owl upset Friday night. Click over the Hoosiers for my upset specials, though.

While Golden, an assistant at Virginia, brought Temple to its first major bowl game in 30 years and gave another assistant, Florida’s Steve Addazio, the talent he needed to win the school’s first bowl game since 1979, Cincinnati doggedly went after and signed the best head coach it could find and its results were even more impressive:  Four first-place finishes in five years, thanks to two guys who proved themselves as a head coach somewhere else first.

Now another proven winner, Tommy Tuberville (formerly a head coach at Texas Tech and Auburn), is in charge and the Bearcats don’t seem to be regretting the move.

The same cannot be said at Temple,
where few fans or administrators
could ever have envisioned losing
to the likes of Fordham and Idaho
prior to the season. There is way
too much talent at Temple to lose
to a FCS team followed by another
loss to a FBS team that lost 14
straight games and gave up 63
points in its last outing

The same cannot be said at Temple, where few fans or administrators could ever have envisioned losing to the likes of Fordham and Idaho prior to the season. There is way too much talent at Temple to lose to a FCS team followed by another loss to a FBS team that lost 14 straight games and gave up 63 points in its last outing.

In a results-oriented business, the Temple Board of Trustees has got to wonder what is going on at the E-O.

Even though  then Temple AD Bill Bradshaw said he had several major “big name” head coaches including “head coaches with teams currently in bowl games” applying for the Temple job after Golden and Addazio left, he stuck with his business model by hiring another career assistant.  There can be no doubt that Temple had people with better resumes on campus but, for some reason or another, decided to go in the direction of hiring a  familiar campus face.

The Temple Hiring Model seems to be going after assistant coaches, producing no league titles in three different leagues. The Cincinnati Hiring Model is going after proven winners, producing four Big East titles in five years.  Those titles helped fuel a funding momentum that sunk millions of dollars into Nippert Stadium renovations.

In the maybe not-too-distant future, Temple could learn a lot by looking into how Cincinnati choses its football CEOs.