Napoleon had his Waterloo.
Hitler had his Stalingrad.
Rhule had his Fordham.
Actually, Hitler and Napoleon had some victories first.
Matt Rhule losing to Fordham was like leaving Paris and Berlin with an Army and getting beaten in the suburbs by a Militia.
That’s pretty much the way I’ve been thinking about the Fordham game for the past 10 days.
On today, the 11th day, maybe the 11th hour, I had an Epiphany.
Fordham might not be a Waterloo or Stalingrad after all.
Fordham actually is a pretty good FCS team.
|Degrees of Fordham Separation|
|Fordham 30, Temple 29;|
|Fordham 27, Villanova 24;|
|Villanova 35, Stony Brook 6;|
|Buffalo 26, Stony Brook 23 (five overtimes, five missed SB field goals)|
|Ohio State 40, Buffalo 20|
|Fordham 51, Rhode Island 26|
|William and Mary 20, Rhode Island 0;|
|West Virginia 24, William and Mary 17|
I know the warnings about Transitive Property. Just because Team A beat Team B and Team B beat Team C doesn’t mean Team A will beat Team C.
There is, though, a lot of evidence based on the first three or four games of the season that Fordham is the real deal and Temple had the misfortune of scheduling Fordham instead of Lafayette or Monmouth this year.
Fordham went from not ranked in the FCS to No. 16 in the country and the Rams are moving up with a bullet.
The Rams have a top-level FBS quarterback in Michael Nebrich and a top-level FBS tailback in Carlton Koonce, who probably are more polished than the two players Temple had at those positions starting the game, Juice Granger and Kenny Harper. I think Zaire Williams is every bit as good as Koonce, maybe better, but maybe Rhule believes Williams had to wait his turn.
Well, that turn has come and, like Napoleon and Hitler, Rhule has reached Moscow in a defining moment.
That said, IF Paul Hornung Award leader
Chris Coyer gets fed the ball at least
10 or more times in a variety of ways
against Idaho, Matt Rhule will prove
to be smarter than Hitler or Napoleon
and have a lot easier time
in Moscow than those two did
Moscow, Russia for the first two; Moscow, Idaho for Rhule.
Still, no excuse for not pounding the ball against Fordham’s 247-pound defensive line but that mistake has to be chalked up to the inexperience of a young Field General in Matt Rhule.
Fordham, though, is pretty good. The Rams not only beat Temple, but they beat Villanova and last week Villanova beat Stony Brook like a drum (35-6).
If you don’t think that’s impressive, just check out what Stony Brook did the week before: It extended old Temple rival Buffalo to five overtimes before losing, 26-23. In a pang of pain Temple fans felt during the Houston game, two Stony Brook kickers missed five field goals during that game. Stony Brook should have beaten Buffalo, no doubt about it. Buffalo hung with Ohio State before losing, 40-20. Ohio State is about as good as it gets in college football these days.
Should have, could have and did are different things but you get the drift.
With a third-string quarterback, Temple could not get it done against one of the best FCS teams out there.
Ask Iowa State, which lost to Northern Iowa, 28-20, and Kansas State, which lost to North Dakota State, 27-24. Kansas State was a top 10 BCS team all last season. Or Oregon State, which lost to Eastern Washington. Or UConn, which lost to Towson.
Something tells me at least one or two teams among Iowa State, Kansas State, UConn and Oregon State will survive and go to a bowl game.
Temple can, too, if it can get the ball in the hands of its explosive playmakers like Chris Coyer and Zaire Williams on a more regular basis. If is the same word as could and should and the hope is that Rhule spent the last 10 days figuring out how to change if and should to did and done.
That said, IF Paul Hornung Award leader Chris Coyer gets fed the ball at least 10 or more times in a variety of ways against Idaho, Matt Rhule will prove to be smarter than Hitler or Napoleon and have a lot easier time in Moscow than those two did. If he doesn’t, it will be another cold and nasty retreat.