Temple-Tulsa: Heartbreak Ridge?

CapperTex is to college football computers what IBM’s Watson was to Jeopardy.

When we last saw the Temple football Owls on national television, the university’s reputation in the sport took a beating in a 70-13 loss to UCF on ESPN’s primary channel.

This should be the standard Temple home uniform. Way better than the black ones.

Same old Temple under Stan Drayton that existed under Rod Carey, the nation said, and the guys who play for Drayton gave little reason to argue with that assumption.

Now that the Owls are on that network’s secondary channel, ESPN2 (tonight 7:30), two major computer simulators have the team garnering respect but not the ultimate prize: A win.

The top NCAA football simulator has Tulsa winning, 24-21, generated by CapperTek. For those not aware, the top “human” handicappers against the spread usually rate in the 67-70 percentile. CapperTex’s artificial intelligence model has a 79 percent success rate.

If it is right and the Owls lose by three, that sets us all up for a heartbreaker. Tulsa opened as a 13.5-point favorite and the “wise guys” bet that down by a whole point over the last two days.

Can an Owl brother get a win here?

Possibly, because as good as artificial intelligence is, it does not account for the occasionally tipped ball interception or the stripped sack fumble.

The same model predicted Virginia would beat three-point favorite Georgia Tech on Thursday night, 31-27. Virginia won, but by 16-9. Maybe Tulsa wins by three more points than the computer expects, but maybe the Owls can do something about it.

Another model also has Temple covering the spread by losing “only” 38-26.

This CBS projection has the Owls covering the 12.5 spread by the slimmest of margins.

What does this mean?

Of all the remaining games on the Temple schedule, this is the Owls’ best chance for a win. There are a few reasons for this.

Our picks this week. We’re playing these separately for blog purposes but if all hit on a $10 parlay investment, $2,936.43 is the ROI.

Tulsa struggles in the run game, getting only 25 total yards rushing in a 53-21 loss at Navy.

That means the Hurricanes will be forced to pass against an Owls’ defense that has been very good against the pass in five of their first six games.

The game will simply come down to this: If the Owls can just do a decent job against the pass and the same kind of job Navy did against the run, they will keep it close.

If they can force a couple of interceptions against quarterback Davis (an odd first name, no doubt) Brin, they will post the upset.

Tough task?




They will need to take the ball away twice to get the win. One fumble, one interception or two interceptions will do the job. On its end, Temple will have to protect the football.

If both teams play a clean game, Tulsa wins.

You read it here first.

At least now the Owls know what they have to do to avoid a broken heart. Knowing it and doing it is the difference between winning and losing.

Picks this week: In the graphic near the bottom of this post. Thought long and hard about the UL-Monroe at Army game but Army’s beatdown at the hands of an average Georgia State team convinced us that ULM can cover the 6.5. That’s the key play. San Diego State’s four-point win over a truly horrific Hawaii team convinced us that Nevada can win outright at home against SDSU. The Rice Owls are the best Owls playing college football this year (unfortunately) and should beat Louisiana Tech by a touchdown.

Update: Not a good week, won on Western Kentucky, Kent State, Rice, Louisville and Wyoming but lost on ULM, ODU, Texas State, UCF and Nevada. 5-5 for the week and now 22-18 on the season.

Tomorrow: Game Analysis

Monday: Excuse or Opportunity?


Temple-Tulsa: Can the Owls make history?

On the surface, the Temple at Tulsa football game is just another game between two losing teams playing out the string in disappointing seasons.

Upon closer inspection, though, history is at stake because it will probably provide the first answer to this question ever:

Can a dumpster fire win a college football game?

A comparison between Russo 2020 and Mathis 2021
Despite playing four more games, Mathis had three fewer TD passes than Russo.

Because, based not only on the developments of this week but of the last two seasons, that’s just what Temple football has become under Rod Carey.

It has nothing to do with the wonderful kids still committed to playing for Temple nor the current administration or the fans.

It has everything to do with the CEO on the football side, Rod Carey, who has chosen to protect his NIU carpetbagging coaching cabal over advancing the program he is handsomely paid to protect.

Let’s review what has happened.

One of the top five quarterbacks in Temple history in terms of winning percentage chose to leave the program to be a backup at a Big 10 school rather than continue to play for coach Carey. A backup quarterback at an SEC school picked Temple but had his fill of Carey in less than one season and has chosen to sit out next year (2022) rather than play for Carey.

A running back from Florida who was expected to be a starter, Iverson Clement, provided evidence of coaching abuse from the current Temple strength coach. He also published text messages proving Carey lied about Iverson “leaving” the team and proved Clement’s claim that he was “kicked off” the team.

If Carey lied about that, and he did, what else has Carey lied about?

My guess is plenty.

I wish Lew Katz, the chairman of the BOT’s athletic committee, and George Moore, the school’s ex-chief university counsel, were still alive because they would probably be able to find cause to fire Carey right now. Those two men loved Temple and would have not allowed Carey to get even this far.

The team’s best running back from 2019, Ra’Mahn Davis, backed up Clement and said the same thing happened to him. The father of the team’s best linebacker from last year, Isaiah Graham-Mobley, said his son loved Temple and would have remained there had it not been for Carey. So we have the team’s two best quarterbacks from the last two years leaving, the best linebacker leaving, the best wide receiver (Jadan Blue) leaving, the best offensive lineman (Vince Picozzi) leaving, the best pass rushers of the past two years (Quincy Roche and Arnold Ebekitie) leaving, the team’s two best corners (Christian Braswell and Linwood Crump) leaving, among many, many others who, if there, no doubt would have helped the Owls pummel Tulsa.

Now it’s essentially a game with the 2019 and 2020 Temple backups being asked to beat the 2021 Tulsa starters thanks to the fact that Carey has the personality of a wet washrag in addition to being an enabler of a horrible culture.

That, plus the fact that this coaching staff has shown zero ingenuity in three years, no desire to block or return punts, no halfback passes, no double reverses, no shovel passes, etc., etc., etc. that might mix up an otherwise drab game plan.

Dumpster fire indeed.

Ironically, the person who should have left a long time ago, Carey, boarded a plane for Tulsa today and will be on the sidelines ostensibly trying to lead the Owls to a victory on Saturday (4 p.m., ESPN+).

Former TU running back Mike Mitchell echos everything I’ve heard from the 20 or so TU players on the team I have talked to so far.

Ostensibly means apparently or purportedly but not actually.

That’s the best word to describe Carey’s presence on the sidelines tomorrow.

Check that, as Harry Donahue might say.

There’s one better word.


Picks this week: Stuck in neutral (2-2) for three straight weeks so only used the few games that stuck out like a sore thumb. Jumped on RU getting 18 at Penn State (I have a feeling that game is going to be 10 or less), MINNESOTA giving 6.5 at Indiana, and LOUISIANA-LAFAYETTE getting 5.5 at Liberty. (If I was really ambitious, would also pick Memphis getting the 9.5 at Houston, UAB getting 5.5 at UTSA and SDSU laying the 10.5 at UNLV but not as confident in those as the first three.)

Update: The strategy of picking only three games worked to break our 2-2 rut of the prior three weeks. RU let us down against Penn State but Louisiana-Lafayette not only covered at Liberty but won outright and Minnesota covered the meager 6.5 at Indiana to go 2-1 bringing our seasonal record to a more than respectable 26-21-1.

Saturday’s complete college football TV schedule

Update: Won last week on ODU and Rutgers and lost on Troy and UCF bringing our season ATS record to 24-20-1. The Troy and UCF losses cost us $2,678.97 (really, 10 bucks).

Sunday: Game Analysis

Tuesday: Hopefully coverage of the press conference to fire Rod Carey

Fizzy Closes Book on Tulsa Game


Thanks to Thomasine for forwarding this great cartoon

Editor’s Note: I usually arrive five hours before the game and, at the Buffalo game, saw Fizzy drive in five minutes before the game. Hopefully, he’ll get there a few hours before the Oct. 6 ECU game and we can finally meet up. This first paragraph below is the reason I leave plenty of time to get to the games.

By Dave (Fizzy) Weinraub

I was driving to the stadium Thursday night, when I tapped this guy’s bumper in front of me.  He got out to look at the damage and I really felt bad because he was a dwarf.  When he looked at his bumper and saw a small dent, he said, “I’m not happy.”  I replied, “Well, which one are you?”

OK sports fans, here we are again.  If you were predicting Temple’s record at this juncture before the season began, you’d have probably said 3 – 1.  So we’re 2 -2, but I’m not happy either.

I’m aware that I keep interjecting my football philosophy on Temple’s coaching staff, and that may or may not be constructive.  So today, I’m just going to list some occurrences, and you make up your mind.



  1. Opening drive – Fourth and a half-yard for a first down at your 49-yard line.  What would you do?  (Temple punted, although it has a 350-pound tackle who scored a short-yardage touchdown the previous week. )
  2. Three second and tens on offense, what play would you call?  (Temple went up-the gut.)
  3. With a third and eleven pinned against their goal line, Temple ran up-the-gut.  What would you do?
  4. On a third and one in good field position near the end of the game, Temple threw a pass from a direct snap.  What would you have done?  (Hint: play action)
  5. Wright finally threw a pass from the Wildcat, but it was a flare.  Would you maybe throw downfield?
  6. Would you ever run the second reverse of the year?


  1. Tulsa had a number of third and longs, how would you line up?  (Most of the time Temple went into a three-man line prevent which gave the QB lots of time.)
  2. Tulsa drove down the field before the end of the first half.  Would you have blitzed at all?
  3. Temple kicked off in the second half with a high short kick that enabled Tulsa to get field position at their forty line.  What would you have done?
  4. Tulsa had a first and goal at our four-yard line.  Would you line up in a 4 – 3?
  5. Temple either lines up in a 4 -3 or a three-man rush/prevent.  Would you ever employ any other type of defensive alignment?
  6. Armstead made a super tackle on defense.  Would you let him play more, less, or not at all on defense?


General Comments  (I served under General U.S. Grant)

There were some great offensive calls like, once again, the fake punt on fourth and two for a big gain, a (gulp) bootleg throw, and some nice play action and sweeps.  I’ve been very impressed with the accuracy of QB Russo’s throws.  Remember, there were two clear drops in the end-zone for touchdowns, as well as two clear drops on the sidelines for long gains.  Without our two defensive touchdowns, the score would have been 17 – 17.  I have noticed, however, there’s been a definite uptick in imaginative play calls.

On defense, I believe our number 90, Quincy Roche, had a fantastic day pressuring the QB, and helped save the day.  His speed and strength overwhelmed Tulsa’s right offensive tackle.  However, everyone we’ve played so far has successfully run up the middle against us.  Is there an answer anywhere?

Next Saturday, we have Addazio.  Someday, I will tell all about the infamous, Addazio, Dr. Pete Chodoff, and Fizzy Weinraub altercation.

Tomorrow: The Irony of BC-TU


Lapsing Into Old Habits

Mike Schmidt may have said it best about sports in Philadelphia.

“Philadelphia is the only city in the country where you can experience the thrill of victory one night and the agony of reading about it in the paper the next day.”

Schmitty might have been onto something because, while Temple’s 31-17 win over Tulsa was a cosmetic success, the reality is that the Owls will have to be better in order to beat Boston College.


The good news is that they have been better and they have the game tape to prove it. Thrilling victory, but you’ve got to wonder if the Owls are lapsing into old habits, particularly on the offensive end. The Owls showed a lot of good habits a week ago at Maryland by putting the H-back in motion and having their elite tailback, Ryquell Armstead, follow the extra blocker through the hole. If you thought that would be a staple of the offense going forward, OC Dave Patenaude disabused fans of that notion by rarely showing that look against Tulsa.

If the Owls are going to beat another Power 5 team and challenge some of the better teams in the AAC, they might want to go back to what worked so beautifully a week ago. Armstead not only ripped off some big runs off those motion blocks, but the running game set up open lanes in the passing game.

Who knows why they lapsed back into the scatterbrained look they showed against Buffalo and Villanova but they need to shake those bad habits now. Quarterback Anthony Russo delivered a lot of balls on the money but it only seemed half of them were caught because the receivers were not getting the same kind of separation they did a week ago. That running game and that motion created the separation the Owls need to reincorporate that back into their game plan against the Fighting Steve Addazios in a week and a day.

To me, any win is a good win but some are better than others and last week was definitely better than this week and next week needs to be better than the last two. Hopefully, the Owls will take a hard look at the Maryland film and conclude that last week’s scheme is the way to go.

Otherwise, they risk needless agony when they could have endless thrills.

Saturday: This Week in College Football

Monday: What We’ve Learned

The Whole World Will Be Watching

Last year’s Temple vs. Tulsa highlights …

Walk into a bar on any given Saturday as a Temple fan, even in Philadelphia,  and the drill has become a familiar one over the last half-century, maybe before that.

Between fighting the Penn State fans and the fraud Notre Dame subway alumni and the front-running Alabama fans, you’d be lucky to get someone to put on the Temple football game somewhere on the side with no one to watch but you. Forget about asking for the sound to be turned up, either.


At least the weather should be good


Not tonight (7:30, ESPN).

The whole college football world will be watching with the sound blasting in every bar from the Northeast corner of Maine to the farthest western island in the Hawaii chain. My guess is that the crowd would have been in excess of 30K if the Owls took care of business against Villanova and Buffalo in addition to winning against Maryland. Instead, the hit from those two disappointing games will be around 8K so expect an announced crowd in the 22K range. Anything more would be a bonus.

While those die-hards like us will be there, this, though, in a made-for-TV affair like most Temple home games. The difference this time is the Owls will have a captive audience and can enhance their brand with a big win.

OK, sure, there will be an NFL game on but, hey, it’s the Jets and Cleveland which leaves most of the TVs on Temple and Tulsa.

So this is a big opportunity for Temple to establish that the Maryland game was no fluke and to prove what the rest of the team believes: That the Owls who dominated a 2-0 Big 10 team who beat Texas are the team fans should have seen from Day One.

A convincing win over Tulsa would be step two in restoring a damaged brand because so many people who otherwise not ever watch a Temple game will be there—either on the couch or in local establishments—watching.

More importantly, all of the Owls’ preseason goals are still on the table. The No. 1 goal has been to win the league championship and, to do that, the Owls will probably have to win all the AAC games they are favored in plus grab at least one win against UCF or USF(those two could cancel each other out).

It will not be easy because this is a Tulsa team that hung with Texas (28-21) in Austin before losing to Arkansas State by essentially the same score (29-20) at home the next week but winning a championship is never easy.

If the Owls play the way they did the first two games, they could easily lose this one. If the Owls play the way they played last week, there is no reason to believe they can’t win by at least a similar score against Tulsa.

To me, on the list of reasons why the Owls lost their first two games right at the top was the refusal to run the ball against a horrid run defense (Buffalo) and an FCS team that gave up 45 points against Towson. The Owls committed to the run behind a blocking lead back against Maryland and that opened up the passing game for Anthony Russo. That’s the way they won 20 games in two years and the way they can still accomplish the goals set for this year.

The Owls will play a lot of games after tonight but, chances are, this will be the most eyeballs on them in any of them even including a possible bowl. This is their big chance to make a good impression.

Tomorrow: Game Analysis

The Exception To the Rhule


If the Owls go from 10 wins to five in one year, staff changes need to be made

Whatever happens in Tulsa a week from now, 11 games have provided more than enough evidence to come to one conclusion.
If Matt Rhule was the perfect guy to lead Temple football into the next decade, and he probably was, Geoff Collins is The Exception to the, err, Rhule.
In other words, The Anti-Rhule.

matt rhule, temple football,

What made Rhule great here doesn’t necessarily transfer to Waco and what made Geoff Collins a good coordinator in Gainesville doesn’t necessarily transfer to the top spot here

It took Rhule three years to understand the key to winning at Temple is running the football behind the fullback, playing sound, fundamental defense (no Mayhem), shortening the game with long drives predicated on a running game that forced opposing defenses to bring their linebackers and safeties up to the line of scrimmage and then hitting on explosive plays in the passing game by using play-action.

You’ve got to wonder
if the Temple
administration is
kicking itself now
knowing that there
was a guy out there
who knows how to win
here, Al Golden,
and they passed on
him to roll the dice
on an unproven coordinator
It’s a simple formula but it’s a proven effective one for the last two double-digit win seasons. This is football, not Rocket Science.
Why Collins saw the need to tinker with that formula with talent tailor-made to run it is beyond the comprehension of most Temple fans.
Certainly this one.
The shame of it all is that Temple went from a guy in Rhule who understood what it takes to win here to someone who might never grasp the concept. What made Rhule great here doesn’t necessarily transfer to Waco and what made Geoff Collins a good coordinator in Gainesville doesn’t necessarily transfer to the top spot here. Rhule’s gone and probably won’t be back but you’ve got to wonder if the Temple administration is kicking itself now knowing that there was a guy out there who knows how to win here, Al Golden, and they passed on him to roll the dice on an unproven coordinator.
Now we have at least a 50/50 chance–I assume Tulsa will be either a two-point favorite or a two-point underdog when the lines come out–of going from two 10-win seasons to one five-win one.
I made it a point to approach Dr. Pat Kraft at the pre-game tailgate and congratulate him on one thing.
“What’s that?” the Temple AD said.
“Firing the soccer coach,” I said.
“Because you said in the statement that Temple will not accept mediocrity,” I said. “That’s something new at Temple because Temple never fires any coaches. That statement shows Temple’s not playing when it comes to holding coaches to a standard.”
“I meant it,” Pat said.
If this season finishes in a five-win disaster, big changes need to be made at least at the coordinator level if not above.
In a week, the Owls have a chance to be either mediocre or bad.
If it’s the latter, I hope Kraft holds American football to the same standard he demands from the international kind.
Tuesday: 5 Reasons To Give Thanks
Thursday: A Throwback Thanksgiving Day Story

Temple-Tulsa: The Day After

Outstanding (and also a good report).

When I was a teenager, a friend of mine got a brand new Ford Pinto and the rest of us packed into the car and he took us for a joy ride. It was anything but joyful.  We turned off onto the back roads of Bucks County and found only dead ends before finally backtracking into Philly well after midnight.

“Enjoy the ride,” he said.

Watching Temple beat Tulsa, I had one overwhelming thought: This is definitely a win for the “shut up and enjoy the ride” crowd.


Sometimes, you have to take off the Cherry and White-colored sunglasses—I have several pair—and look at these things objectively. While Temple is 4-1 overall and 2-0 in the conference, it struggled to beat a Tulsa team that was hammered, 52-7,  by Oklahoma and 42-17 by Colorado State and lost to Texas State. Not Texas. Not Texas A&M. Not Texas Christian. Not Texas Tech.

Texas State.

I’m under no illusions that Temple is Oklahoma, but I was thinking the Owls would be closer to Colorado State until yesterday. If Tulsa is perhaps the third-worst team in the league behind Tulane and UConn (and it is), it is really hard to imagine the Owls getting two more wins for the rest of the schedule.

They have to play better but, more importantly, they have to scheme better.

It could be so much better because watching Jahad Thomas play was like going back into a time machine and watching the great Todd McNair play for the Owls. Both wear No. 34.  Both have the same running style. McNair had great blocking fullbacks to follow through the hole and Thomas could have the same thing but both great blockers, Kenny Harper and Marc Tyson, are sitting on the bench when Thomas is in the game. McNair’s running opened up the play-action passing game for the Owls back then and Thomas’ running could open up the play-action passing game for P.J. Walker now. The two-back set is supposedly in the playbook, with plays featuring Harper as lead blocker through the hole for Thomas also in the playbook. Houston hasn’t seen that part of the playbook yet. Maybe it’s time to wipe the dust off those pages.

For five games, I have waited like one of those Seventh-day Adventists waiting for the Second Coming of Robbie Anderson. None of those supposedly just-as-tall and just-as-good receivers Temple has reminds me of Robbie Anderson. He ain’t coming back. (I would have had a GA follow him into every class like a stalker but that’s water under the dam. Damn.)

The defense seems to reverting to its bad habits of 2013 in allowing receivers to make great catches in the secondary and sustain drives that should have been stopped. Houston has a great receiver in Devonte Greenway. A successful and sustained running game accompanied by play-action passing could do more to keep the ball out of his hands than any defense.

Enjoy the ride.

Advance the tape to 1:35 before watching  ….. 🙂

Every Saturday Should Be Homecoming

Unfortunately, we only see this much Cherry in the stands on Homecoming or Penn State games like this one in 2011.

Unfortunately, we only see this much Cherry in the stands on Homecoming or Penn State games like this one in 2011.

Every so often, people in Philadelphia get a glimpse of what Temple football could be like to the sports culture of the city.

For the past four years, that every so often has come on Homecoming. Really, I wish every Temple football day was Homecoming for two reasons: Big crowd and a big win. Here’s what has happened the past four Homecomings:

Last 4 Homecoming Games for Temple:

Temple, 33-14
Temple, 37-28
South Florida
Temple, 34-0
Temple, 28-27
Bowling Green

Those of us who go to the games and participate in the tailgate scene know the drill well. Most of the good spots are given to the folks who come to the games just once a year, with the various schools getting tents of their own at prime locations.

To me, that’s OK, too. I’m all for welcoming the 25,000 Prodigal Sons and Daughters who return once a year in the hopes that what they see will convince themselves to become one of us—the 15-20,000 who do not miss a home game.

That hasn’t happened over the past couple of years because even though the wins have come on Homecoming, the sustainability has not. It’s pretty hard to draw good crowds after 4-7 and 2-10 seasons.

Winning at Homecoming is vitally important, but what happens there has to be followed by sustained success. With the Owls right now at 3-1 and owning both conference wins and an SEC win, there’s a big chance for both ahead. They should grab that chance and run with it.