Fan Party: Pictures Worth 1,000 words

Ninety-nine years ago an advertising executive named Fred R. Barnard coined the phrase “a picture is worth a thousand words.”

True today, and especially true on Tuesday night when photographer extraordinaire Zamani Feelings came up with these shots from the season ticket holder party. He’s got plenty more on his site. Tomorrow, we’ll have a post with real words but, for now, it’s pretty hard to top this contribution to our site from Zamani. To see more, or even purchase one, visit here :


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Temple Can Learn from Boise State


Boise State opens with Florida State this year.

Temple opens with Bucknell.

Those two sentences are all you need to know about what Temple (and, to a larger extent), the AAC can learn from Boise State.

That’s because, despite all the bombast from Mike Aresco’s home office about the AAC being a Power Conference, the schedules of member schools are littered with FCS opponents.

If Aresco and members are really serious about moving on up to college football’s east side, then they will follow Boise State’s heavy P5 scheduling lean.

The worst non-conference schedule this year, according to rankings of 130 FBS team?


When you are in the SEC, you can do that.

ACC, maybe.

AAC definitely not.

The formula for the AAC to move up is the hard path of making its members schedule teams from the Power 5–or at least fellow FBS schools–exclusively and then go beat them.

If the AAC doesn’t change its policy, Temple certainly should.

Amazingly, there are apologists out there who say “two P5 opponents plus an FCS is the perfect way to schedule” because that’s the way to get to a bowl game every year.

To that, I say: If Temple has to play an FCS game to qualify as a top 80 team in a 130-team group, it should not be playing intercollegiate football.

Temple, it would seem to me, is best-suited for this type of schedule than its fellow AAC foes. The Owls are smack dab in the center of a five-hour drive of 46 percent of the nation’s population. There are enough great high school players within that circle for the Owls to recruit and coach them up to win a significant number of games against P5 schools.

There’s certainly no advancing the Temple brand by beating an FCS school and that’s something that should have been stopped between the last Villanova game and the next Bucknell game.

For now, all Owls’ fans can do is swallow hard and hope this is the last FCS team they will ever see again.

Wednesday: Hitting the Recruit Reset Button

Sunday: The Long Game

Wednesday (6/5): The Case for The Defense

Ranking Temple Schedule: 1-12

Temple fans know Daz is susceptible to a trick play. Watch the center here.

Everyone on the campus of Temple University and the extended family wants to hand Sgt. Slaughter a loss.

The man who currently is head coach at Boston College deserves his fate as the most-disliked coach on the Temple schedule in 2018.

Despite proclaiming his love for the university and “South Philly ravioli” and wanting to be “the head coach for life here” Steve Addazio skipped town after two years.

In retrospect, it was the best thing to happen to Temple football. Most at the time did not know it but me, pounding the steering wheel with unmitigated joy upon hearing the news on the car radio, knew that the Temple football program had dodged a huge bullet.

Daz wanted to run off tackle on seemingly every first and second down, passing only if it was third-and-long. That got him (and Temple) a lot of bad-end sacks. Daz staying here would have retarded the development of the program. In a way, hiring Matt Rhule was a two-step forward move without the one-step back.

Daz last season was 4-7 and, if Temple acted like a “normal” school, it would have fired him. At Temple, though, the commitment of the school is for life—or at least the full term of the contract—even though the commitment by the person on the other end is not.

All of the above being true, the Owls’ test at Boston College in late September ranks as their second-toughest of the season.

Here are our rankings of the 12 toughest Temple games, from 12-1:

12) Villanova—Beating this team “only” 16-13 was an unmitigated disgrace last year. Elon and Rhode Island had an easier time with the Wildcats. It’s high time that Geoff Collins finds the find print in his $2 million-per-year contract that dictates blowing this team out is a must.

11) UConn—The Owls have pummeled this squad in two of the last three years but last year’s 28-24 fiasco was probably the worst-coached Temple game of the last decade. Got to think that game got into Collins’ gut and he wants to throw up. Blowing this team out in East Hartford would be the perfect bromide.

10) East Carolina—The Owls won at this place, 34-10, last year with a FCS-level quarterback and a backup fullback as the featured tailback in the second half. At home, with a FBS-level quarterback and both Ryquell Armstead and Jager Gardner healthy, got to figure that the Owls could do even better this time.


9) Buffalo—the last time Al Golden played this team at Lincoln Financial Field, he came away with a 37-13 win. As someone on one of the other boards said recently, Collins gets paid the big bucks to beat the crap out of teams like Buffalo. The only online computer simulation of this game has the Owls winning, 30-7. I think that SHOULD BE about right.

8) Tulsa—Temple won in Oklahoma, 42-22, last year with the key plays in the game made by returning Temple starters. Got to figure the Owls repeat that in the friendly confines of the Linc.

7) Cincinnati—Despite some pretty good recruiting by Luke FIckell, he is far from a proven game-day coach. The Owls won the last two games with the Bearcats pretty easily and should win this one at home.


6) Navy—This is probably the best-coached team the Owls will face all year. That said, Temple broke a nation’s-best 15-game home winning streak there in the AAC championship game last time simply because  the Owls were able to bring as many fans to the game as Navy was. If Temple fans bring the noise again, they should win this one.

5 South Florida—The Owls won the last LFF meeting between the two teams, 46-30, and USF is not nearly as it was in 2016 (now without Quinton Flowers and Marlon Mack) and the Owls might be as good as the squad that handed out that 16-point beating.

4) Houston—In Texas, it starts to get tough for the Owls against Major Applewhite’s squad. The Cougars have the best player not only in the league in nose tackle Ed Oliver but the best player in all of G5 football. Still, it’s high time for Temple to beat Houston in football, something it has never done.

3) Maryland—Owls won at Maryland, 38-7, the last time they visited but last year’s Maryland team won at Texas and improved the defense with the hiring of Chuck Heater as co-coordinator. This is a game the Owls could win, but will probably not be favored.

2) Boston College—Plenty of reasons for Temple FANS (see above) to want to win this game but that’s tempered by the knowledge that no current Temple player ever met or was recruited by Addazio nor does Collins, who also was a coordinator at Florida, has any animosity toward him. Plus, Daz has recruited many “dudes” so whether his “dudes” are tougher than our dudes is yet-to-be determined. Still, on May 8, I woke up in the middle of the night from a dream that had the Owls winning, 42-14, and Daz refusing to shake Collins’ hand afterward because Temple was throwing touchdown passes in the fourth quarter (true story). That was my favorite dream of the year and I hope it comes true.

1) UCF—Any team that goes 13-0 with a national championship (at least in the minds of the fair-minded) deserves mad respect but remember that first-year head coaches (who have not been a head coach anywhere else) not named Tom Herman struggle in the AAC and that’s the best hope Temple has of winning this one on the road.

Wednesday—Our annual one-week vacation begins but we will be running surprise “Best of TFFs” starting on this day and returning to fresh perspectives on Wednesday, July 25


AAC Race Should Come Into Focus Early


Owls are the only AAC team to play two Power 5 foes on the road.

You can tell a lot about how the AAC football season will go by around midnight on the first Saturday of action.

That’s when many of you—at least me—will be home from the Temple at Villanova football and Cubs at Phillies baseball sports doubleheader and home on the couch as halftime approaches of the Navy at Hawaii football game.

By then, we should have a pretty good picture of the relative strengths and weaknesses of the teams.

Here’s a look:

      • Houston is playing its crosstown rival, Rice, at the same time (noon) the Owls are playing Villanova. If either Temple or Houston struggle against either team, it’s probably not going to be a good season. More likely, is the scenario that both AAC teams win those games in the area of 41-14, 35-21. At least that’s the hope.


      • Even if ECU is down this year, and the Pirates are, they should smoke North Carolina A&T in their 6 p.m. opener.
      • Don’t sleep on the Elon Phoenix, though, in another 6 p.m. game. Coached by former Temple assistant coach Curt Cignetti, Elon won both at No. 8 Richmond (featuring New York Giant draft choice and quarterback Kyle Lauletta) and beat Villanova by a wider margin than Temple did a year ago. The Phoenix travel to USF and, if Cignetti is able to beat Charley Strong before a sparse crowd in Tampa, he immediately gets mentioned for FBS head coaching jobs.
      • The marquee game of the night for the league is an hour later when Cincinnati travels to UCLA. The Bearcats have had the top two-rated recruiting classes the last two years and if they can beat UCLA (without Josh Rosen but still a good P5 team), they will immediately enter the conversation for the AAC East title with UCF and Temple.

On Thursday, Aug. 30, there are a couple of interesting games as Wake Forest travels to Tulane and UCF visits UConn. UCF will enter as the favorite to win the AAC East, but any team with an unproven first-year head coach is a crapshoot. The last time Wake Forest played Tulane, it won, 7-0. That was the same Wake Forest team that beat the Matt Rhule-less Owls, 34-26. (Temple beat Tulane that year with Rhule, 31-0, and that was probably the main reason the Owls entered the Military Bowl with as a 13.5 favorite.)

In ensuing weeks, Temple is the only team in the league to take on two Power 5 foes on the ROAD. Other AAC teams have dipped their toes into that water only once, as UCF travels to North Carolina, Houston is at Texas Tech, Tulsa at Texas, ECU at Virginia Tech, SMU is at Michigan and USF is at Illinois.

Some of those other AAC teams have a second P5 opponent, but those games are home games. So if Temple is able to pull off a couple of road P5 wins and take the league as well, it puts the Owls in the national conversation. Summer officially ends on Sept. 23.

By the end of it, we should be able to separate the pretenders from the contenders.

Friday: Is This The One?

Progress: A Lot of It Is In The Timing

One of the really small signs that Temple football’s profile nationally has been raised could be found in the back of the newspaper in that small type called agate.

The team’s schedule was updated a week ago with times added where the ever-popular TBD (to be determined) or TBA (to be announced) were posted previously.

Six times have been announced.

Checking our archives of the last three years on June 1, the Owls had exactly 1, 2 and 1 dates announced.  Six times etched in stone in this era of TV-dictated starting times is really a lot and realistically all fans can hope for in this day and age.

Small type progress in small type.

Progress, certainly because it means the networks—specifically, ESPN—want to lock the Owls in now and much of the AAC schedule around them later.

By far, at least from a fan standpoint, the “preferred” starting time by a wide margin has been 3:30. That has been substantiated by data compiled from the university’s athletic department via fan surveys for at least a decade. It’s easy to understand. From a working fan’s standpoint, they have to roll out of bed early five days in a row before that to get to work Monday-Friday and don’t look forward to setting the alarm early for a football game on Saturday. From a student’s view, Friday night is a drinking and party night and a significant minority of the kids are looking at a hangover and not an alarm clock on Saturday morning. Retired people are probably just too tired to get up. So there’s a trifecta at work against noon games.

So, while the starting time of noon for a game against hated rival Villanova on Labor Day weekend is far from ideal, look at it from this perspective: The Phillies have a home game with the Cubs starting at 7 p.m. that day. No Phillies fan is going to show up for tailgate at 9 or 10 in the morning, so the likelihood is that all of the Phillies Lot K tailgating spaces will be taken before the first fans arrive well after kickoff. Hell, Lot K might be closed by then. Lot K, in addition to being the top Temple tailgating lot, is also the big tailgating lot for Phillies fans.

The fact that a FBS/FCS game gets on an ESPN Network, even ESPN News, is a plus as well. Usually, those sorts of games are relegated to ESPN3. That honor goes to Buffalo the next week as well as a more palpable starting time for Temple fans.

Plus, the Big 10 network gets a boost by going into the nation’s No. 4 TV market (Philadelphia) and No. 7 market (Washington, D.C.) with the Temple at Maryland game on Sept. 15 (noon). It won’t be the only game on BTN at the time, as Ball State at Indiana and Troy at Nebraska kick off at the same time and get targeted for more regional audiences. Most Big 10 sets, though, will be getting Temple-Maryland.

The times we know so far are:

Sat Sept 1 VS Villanova 12:00 ESPNNEWS

Sat Sept 8 VS Buffalo 3:30 ESPN3

Sat Sept 15 @Maryland 12:00 BTN

Thur Sept 20 VS Tulsa 7:30 ESPN

Sat Sept 29 @Boston College TBD

Sat Oct 6 VS ECU TBD

Sat Oct 13 @Navy 3:30 CBSSN

Sat Oct 20 VS Cincinnati TBD

Thur Nov 1 @UCF 7:30 ESPN

Sat Nov 10 @Houston TBD

Sat Nov 17 VS USF TBD

Sat Nov 24 @Uconn TBD

Wednesday: The Rest of the AAC

Friday: Could This Be The One?

Monday (6/11): Immediate Needs

Wednesday (6/13): Road Trips

Friday (6/15): Early Recruiting Rankings of Note

Monday (6/18): Birthday Wishes

Wednesday (6/20): When No News Equals Bad News

AAC Needs To Re-Think Schedule


If the AAC really wants to be considered a Power conference, it can drop the slogans and the sideline markers that read “Power 6” and start scheduling like one.

Mike Aresco is good at public relations but PR won’t get the league to where it needs to be as fast as a thinking-outside-the-box scheduling concept.


Take Navy out of the West, put Cincy and ECU there, grab Army for the East and balance the schedules

He should ship two East teams (Cincy and ECU) out West, bring Navy back home to the East and add Army to the East as a sweetener to entice the Middies to make the move.

The league games would only feature East versus East and West versus West, making the championship matchup a fairer one in that every league game is against the same opposition.

That accomplished, the league should encourage its members to schedule Power 5 teams.

To continue to qualify for membership, each league member will have to schedule at least three games against so-called Power 5 conference teams.

What’s that, you say?

“They don’t want to play us.”

Sure, they do.

They don’t want to play us on the road but, if the AAC ever wants to be considered seriously, it will have to schedule less home-and-homes and be flexible to playing road games at Power 5 opponents.

Temple has done the AAC a solid by scheduling Boston College and Maryland this  year. Last year, UCF did the same thing by scheduling Georgia Tech and Maryland. UConn went one better and scheduled three Power 5 teams (Missouri, Virginia and Boston College). UConn got the scheduling part, not the football part.

There are reasons the five major conferences are called Power 5. They have the Power and the Group of Five schools do not.

To get the Power, you’ve got to fight the Power.

Short-term, this AAC schedule is just fine but the league has to address these issues within the next couple of years if it ever wants to be taken seriously.

Monday: Temple Schedules Going Forward


“Krafting” Better Schedule


Unless Pat Kraft tinkers with the schedule, after ND this year, Oklahoma in 2024 is really the only high-profile opponent on any of the Owls’ future schedules.

Whether or not he wants to admit it, Pat Kraft has a scheduling problem.

Too many Idahos and Bucknells on the schedule and not enough teams that create juice nationally.

As the Sixers learned in their pursuit of Fultz, there’s really only one way to fix a problem.

Give something to get something.



Whether he wants to admit it or not, having Stony Brook on the schedule—instead of beating another Power 5 team—did the AAC champions no favors last year



Dr. Kraft, the athletic director at Temple, has something to give up for an overall greater reward.

Pick the Idaho and Bucknell years, specifically, and give up those home games for a road game against a more high profile opponent.

Kraft has said two things publically about his scheduling philosophy. One, that he will not accept anything less than a home-and-home with anyone. Two, that no one wants to play the Owls. While that might be his stated philosophy, there is evidence to the contrary.

Both have been debunked by the Oklahoma series starting in 2024.

That’s not a home-and-home (it’s a two-for-one) and, by playing the Owls, Oklahoma has disabused the notion that no one wants to play the Owls.

There have to be other Oklahomas out there and it is up to Dr. Kraft to find them.

Whether he wants to admit it or not, having Stony Brook on the schedule—instead of beating another Power 5 team—did the AAC champions no favors last year. That’s why the “prize” for winning the title of the best G5 conference was not a NY6 bowl but a back-to-the-future trip bowl that the Owls made in 2009.

Since the 2018 non-conference schedule (Villanova, Maryland, BC) is devoid of the Bucknells and Idahos—who really should not be playing Temple—let’s concentrate on the 2019 schedule first.

The Owls’ home opener is the body bag game with Bucknell on Aug. 31. On that weekend, for instance, Baylor is set to open with Stephen F. Austin. Kraft can get on the phone with his self-described “best friend in the whole world” (Matt Rhule) and arrange for the Owls to travel to Waco that day. Surely, Matt would not back down from the same kind of challenge Oklahoma accepted. Then his next move would be to get on the horn with K.C. Keeler and arrange for SFA to host Bucknell.

As the French say, Voilà!

Problem solved. Temple gives up a home game which would be sparsely attended for a road game where there’s a lot of juice to energize the fan base for future home games that year.

The next problem is the Idaho game, a home one on 9/12/20. Since the Owls’ long-term goal should be to get into the ACC, that’s where their focus should be.

Both Miami (Fla.) and Pitt have openings on that date and Temple should offer a home-and-home to both schools. If neither takes it, then offer up the Idaho home game as a sacrifice to the football Gods and take a one-and-done road game. Tell the Vandals thanks for the return date, but no thanks and help them get a game with Villanova or something.

Kraft’s scheduling problem is going to remain one until he does something about it. Otherwise, you can plan your shore trips around the Idaho and Bucknell dates.

Friday: Collins’ Best Week Ever