|With 12 wins this year, Chris Coyer could go to 16-0 as a Temple starter.|
About this time every year, I run into a friend I will call Frank (because that’s his name) and, for the past five years or so, he’ll yell out “How is Temple going to do this year?” when I jog by his summer place in the Poconos.
|Coaching up the OL.|
Frank did not go to Temple and is about as New York City as they come (a big Yankee fan) but he became a Temple fan (he watches on TV) because his late beautiful wife, Amy, graduated from Temple.
About five years ago, I yelled out 7-5 (after a whole lot of losing seasons in a row). It was 5-7. (It should have been 7-5, except for fiascoes at Navy and Buffalo). I nailed the record the past couple of years with eight-win predictions.
This year, I dread jogging by Frank’s place because I just don’t know the answer.
It could be 8-3. It could be 11-0. It could even be 6-5, but I seriously doubt it will go below that.
Dreams, expectations, reality.
The dream is that everybody stays relatively healthy, that Justin Frye and Steve Addazio can coach up the offensive line and that Chuck Heater continues to show the nation he is the best defensive coordinator in the country.
This being June, I feel prepared to tell Frank 8-3 but I can dream of 11-0.
This is how it can happen:
|Temple hits the snap-on button to steamroll Villanova.|
Friday, Aug. 31.: Matty Brown treats the Wildcats like he treated the U.S. Army for the last two years, going for 226 and four touchdowns. Chris Coyer rips off another patented 80-yard touchdown run and adds a pair of touchdown passes, one to Malcolm Eugene and another to Deon Miller. Ryan Alderman sustains three drives by catching third-down passes. Juice Granger ends the four-year rivalry by faking a kneel down out of victory formation and hitting slot receiver Jalen Fitzpatrick for a 63-yard score. “We call that our ‘snap-on’ play,” Addazio said. “We snapped it onto the game plan yesterday. It was the last page.” Temple 55, Villanova 3.
Saturday, Sept. 8: Randy Edsall opens the post-game press conference by saying, “for the third-straight year, my team wasn’t tough enough to beat this team. It’s a bad matchup for us.” After pestering by D.C. and Baltimore reporters, he ends the press conference by saying, “Look, if it wasn’t for the kindness of coach Addazio, we would have lost to them 45-0 last year. You didn’t really expect us to make up 45 points in one year, did you?” Temple 28, Maryland 13.
|The best DC in the USA|
Sat., Sept. 22: Given an extra week to prepare, Heater comes up with a brand new blitzing scheme that forces Penn State starter Matt McGloin into five interceptions, one returned for a touchdown by true freshman Nate Smith and another by outside linebacker Kevin Newsome, who volunteered to move to defense in August. “I totally take responsibility for this loss,” new Penn State coach Bill O’Brien says afterward. “I put in a lot of Tom Brady stuff for him. I know Tom Brady. Matt is no Tom Brady.” Addazio: “Newsome was too good an athlete to keep off the field.” Temple 17, Penn State 7.
Sat., Oct. 6 _ South Florida travels to Philadelphia for the first time and the weather is so uncharacteristically cool, with temperatures in the 40s, that the Bulls have a hard time coping. Temple students come up big in the first game back to the Big East as 30,000 students make the subway ride from the main campus to attend the historic event. “Between the cold and our guys fumbling and the noise their students were making, we just weren’t into it,” South Florida coach Skip Holtz said afterward. “We don’t have crowds like that in Tampa.” Addazio gives basketball head coach Fran Dunphy the game ball. Temple 24, South Florida 14.
Sat. Oct. 13 _ With UConn benefactor Robert Burton watching from a superbox, Ryan Day’s spread offense kicks into full gear against the Huskies as Coyer hits Fitzpatrick, Alderman, Miller and tight end Alex Jackson for scores. Brown adds another on the ground. Burton storms out at halftime, yelling out loud “I told you guys we should have hired Addazio.” The win gives Temple a 5-3 overall advantage in the all-time series. Temple 35, UConn 7.
Sat. Oct. 20 _ Heater’s defense sacks two Rutgers’ quarterbacks for a school-record 15 times. Fitzpatrick hits a wide-open Coyer on a double-reverse throwback pass for six. Brandon McManus kicks five field goals and the Rutgers’ Rivals.com board implodes and servers crash after a 22-14 Temple win in front of 50,000 fans, 35K from Temple. They officially change the name of the Raritan River to the Denial River after one Rutgers fan writes, “Well, at least we won the battle of the fans.” Temple 22, Rutgers 14. “Penn State was sweet but, for some reason, this one was sweeter,” Coyer says afterward. The win evens the all-time series at 17-17 and gives Temple wins in five of the last seven meetings.
Sat. Oct. 27 _ Stability becomes the most-used word in post-game reports after Temple pulls out a 14-7 win at Pitt. “You can’t have five head coaching changes in a couple of years and expect a competitive DI program,” one columnist writes. After the game, Gov. Tom Corbett presents Addazio with the Governor’s Cup, emblematic of the state championship. In keeping with his austerity policy on higher education, though, the trophy is made out of a used cardboard pizza box donated by neighboring Gov. Chris Christie. Temple 14, Pitt 7.
|Pitino: Rooting for Temple?|
Sat. Nov. 3 _ At Louisville, Rick Pitino hosts Dunphy in a club box at Papa Johns Stadium and photo of him high-fiving Dunph after a Temple touchdown causes a local stir. “I always cheer for Louisville,” Rick said. “We were high-fiving about the new scoreboard at the Liacouras Center. Temple just happened to score a touchdown at the same time.” Temple 17, Louisville 6. With the win, Temple’s all-time record vs. Louisville is now 4-2.
Sat. Nov. 10 _ With the Big East championship on the line, unbeaten Cincinnati travels to unbeaten Temple and College Football Game Day is in attendance. A 59-yard McManus field goal as time expires sets off a wild celebration as the goal posts come down despite some heavy-handed Eagles’ security. Temple now leads the all-time series vs. the Bearcats, 10-4 with one tie, thanks to a Wes Sornisky field goal. Temple 13, Cincinnati 10.
Sat., Nov. 17 _ Brown once again becomes Army’s worst nightmare, this time scoring five touchdowns and running for 268 yards. “I thought he graduated,” one Army fan is overheard telling a Temple fan. “No, that was Pierce,” the Temple fan whispers back. “I wish it was Brown instead,” the Army fan says. Temple 42, Army 14.
|Doug Marrone: No depth|
Sat. Nov. 24 _ Syracuse dressed only 65 players for its spring game and through injuries and ineligiblity, brought only 35 players to Temple for the season finale. “Depth really hurt us,” Syracuse head coach Doug Marrone said. After the game, Syracuse tight end Louis Addazio announces he will transfer to Temple. Temple 32, Syracuse 14.
Temple finishes the regular season 11-0 and Coyer and Brown grace the cover of Sports Illustrated, with the cover headline stating “Fat Cat and Bug lead surprising Temple into Orange Bowl.”