Five Bowl Games TU Fans Should Watch

Hooter and Stella will be kicking back on the couch watching these five games and wishing the football Owls get their shot to do the same in a year.

Hooter and Stella will be kicking back on the couch watching these five games and wishing the football Owls get their shot to go to a bowl game in a year.

If there is one thing the bowl season best illustrates, it’s the schism between the haves and the have-nots in college football.

For the second year in a row, fan of the Temple Owls are on the outside of the bowl window with their noses pressed against it longing for the not-so-distant days when they were part of the haves. The program had a nice little run that saw the team bowl eligible for three-straight years, including the first bowl win in over 30 years, but the Owls have missed badly over the last two years. There had been some hope that first-year head coach Matt Rhule would improve the team from a four-win season in 2012 to a six-win season in 2013, but things imploded badly with embarrassing losses to Fordham and Idaho.

There is some good news, though, in that quarterback P.J. Walker was named to the freshman All-American team and that the team returns most of the players who gave AAC champion Central Florida  one of its toughest league tests for the season. In linebacker Tyler Matakevich, the team has a junior-to-be linebacker who led the country in tackles and will no doubt be on the Dick Butkus Award Watch List as the top player at his position next year.

Plus, Rhule is in the final stages of securing what many consider the best recruiting class in school history. Whether the returning players and the recruits put the Owls over the top remains to be seen and so are five bowl games that should hold a particular appeal for their fans. Of course, Steve Addazio turned a 2-10 team into a 7-5 team  and you-know-who turned a 4-7 team into a 2-10 team. For those interested, Daz’s game vs. Arizona is 12:30 p.m. on New Year’s Eve. Does Daz go 2-10 with this Temple team? Hell no. His relentless commitment to the run would have avoiding the uni the embarrassment of Fordham and Idaho.  I still think Rhule is a better long-term option for the program than Daz, particularly if he finds the gonads to fire Phil Snow in the next few weeks. I don’t think he has the gonads, though.

Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

5. Bowling Green vs. Pittsburgh

In the Little Caesar Pizza Bowl in Detroit on Thursday night, these are two old conference rivals of Temple’s and Owl fans can see what the Falcons have done with less talent and better coaching. According to one national recruiting website, Scout.com, Bowling Green’s 2010 recruiting class was ranked No. 85 in the country, while Temple’s was ranked No. 75 in the same year. Also, Temple had the No. 55-ranked recruiting class in 2012, well ahead of BGSU’s No. 82-ranked class the same year. The only year the Falcons out -recruited Temple was 2011, when their class ranked No. 84 to TU’s No. 95. Pitt was an old Big East foe of Temple.

Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

4. Northern Illinois vs. Utah State

In the Poinsettia Bowl in San Diego also on Thursday night, the Owls get to see what another former conference foe has done with “lesser” rated talent as Temple out recruited NIU in two of the three years from 2010 through 2012. The only time a Temple class was rated behind NIU was in 2011, when the Huskies pulled a No. 90 nationally to Temple’s No. 95. The Huskies have a program-changer in Jordan Lynch, while the Owls feel they also have a program-changer in freshman All-American quarterback P.J. Walker.

Brendan Maloney-USA TODAY Sports

Brendan Maloney-USA TODAY Sports

3. Marshall vs. Maryland

In the Military Bowl Friday, Owl fans get to see former defensive coordinator Chuck Heater lead the rejuvenated defense against a Maryland team that was on Temple’s schedule in both 2011 and 2012. Heater had the 2011 Owls ranked No. 3 in the nation in scoring defense and the Owls had consecutive shutouts that season. He now has Marshall ranked No. 33 in the nation in scoring defense. His replacement at Temple, Phil Snow, has the Owls ranked No. 82 in the country in scoring defense. The last time Heater faced a Randy Edsall coached-team on Maryland soil, he held the Terrapins to seven points in a 38-7 win.

John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports

John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports

2. Louisville vs. Miami (Fla.)

On Saturday in the Russell Athletic Bowl, The Cardinals of the AAC get to go against a couple of familiar faces in Miami head coach Al Golden and defensive coordinator Mark D’Onofrio. Both held the same positions at Temple as recently as 2010. No doubt Owl fans will be rooting for Golden, who brought respect to the Temple program. D’Onofrio was a runner up for the Temple job that went to Rhule a year ago.

Randy Sartin-USA TODAY Sports

Randy Sartin-USA TODAY Sports

1. Vanderbilt vs. Houston

On Jan. 4 in the Compass Bowl, a game holding the most interest for Temple fans is next year’s opening opponent, the Commodores, who will be playing Owl conference foe Houston. Temple dropped a 22-13 game to the Cougars earlier this year and this game will provide a barometer for how far the Owls must improve to compete against an upper-tier SEC team. Vandy head coach James Franklin is from the Philadelphia area, having played quarterback for suburban powerhouse Neshaminy High School in 1989.

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8 thoughts on “Five Bowl Games TU Fans Should Watch

  1. Chuck Heater coaches for the Thundering Herd not the Green Wave.

  2. I think we’re stuck with Snow for another year. That is the one thing that gets me done. Otherwise its always sunny in Philadelphia.

  3. Unfortunately, I think you are right. Matt Rhule wants to win at Temple, but he wants to win with his friends, which is a small corner of the coaching fraternity. One of his friends, Marcus Satterfield, can do the job. The modern offensive game and stopping it has passed by one of his other friends, Snow. Matt Rhule is “too nice a guy” to let Snow go even though the program would take a giant step forward with a DC who has actually stopped some of these spread offenses since 2001. There is a “back door” way around the problem: Hire a defensive line coach who posted multiple shutouts as a DC at the FCS level, thereby having a qualified guy to step in should Snow “retire.”

  4. Yes, Jay, I’ve given MR a scenario where he can save (Snow’s) face and improve the defense at the same time. Hope he follows through.

  5. I think your scenario makes sense, actually while I’m no Snow fan by any stretch I do think using the open position for the d-line coach and maybe shifting some other assistants around (something that seems common place on most staffs) could even make Snow workable for another season. Even with all the talk about the lack of DB talent, given that there seemed to be not much improvement during the season, same mistakes being made the 10th game of the season as in the 2nd, I really don’t think Bacon did a real good job coaching there. Maybe he could be moved to something like special teams coach, bring in a d-line coach as you describe and a guy like Ron English who while not a successful head coach was a good DB coach under Snow and a good DC at Michigan.

  6. I’m thrilled Chuck Heater and the Herd “smeared the turtles” right in their own backyard bowl. I enjoyed Heater’s stay at Temple, and I dislike a few twerp’s fans. I hope we can develop a cool and intelligent fan base. I also like the image of winning the Military Bowl next year with a Heater-like defense.

  7. Heck, if I was Matt Rhule, I’d pick up the phone right now (it’s the middle of the night) and make Chuck an offer he can’t refuse. Then again, if I was Matt Rhule, we’d have been taking three knees to end the Rutgers’ game after P.J. Walker falls forward on the back of Kyle Friend for a yard needing only 3 inches. That last offensive drive RU had against Temple never had to happen.

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