After Tulane came back from a two-touchdown deficit to beat Temple, 20-14, in the first Sugar Bowl, then Temple head coach Pop Warner said:
“We lost to a fine squad,” Warner said, “but our boys presented themselves well. Perhaps someday we will return.”
Like MacArthur said, “we have returned” even though it is 80 years later against the same opponent in the same town with either a lot or nothing on the line.
It’s not quite the Sugar Bowl, but it’s a few blocks away and will have all the limelight that comes with Saturday night nationally televised ESPN2 game. Even if the Owls are able to beat Tulane—and they have dropped from a 4.5 favorite to open to a 3-point favorite today—they are far from a lock to make a bowl game. The Owls have to hope 19-point favorite Oklahoma takes care of business against Oklahoma State in a rivalry game (3:30) earlier that afternoon and teams like Ohio, Middle Tennessee and UAB-Birmingham are passed over. It is not an ideal situation, especially when two analysts came on College Football Gameday making a pitch for UAB Birmingham being a great bowl story since it is dropping football.
Temple, though, simply has to do something it has not done for weeks—take care of business. We’ve tried all season to give the Owls a roadmap to get things done but the Owls’ inexperienced coaching staff has been too stubborn in a belief of a flawed “process” to change. We don’t expect any change now, but still would like to the Owls attempt to establish the run behind a blocking fullback and a quick and talented tailback like Jahad Thomas, then throw off play-action. P.J. Walker has been struggling in the 3-4 wide sets and it only makes sense to provide him with some sort of max protect scheme so he can at least have time to fake to a running back and look down the field.
Common sense does not appear to be on the horizon, though, based on the process of the past few weeks. Tulane plays a nine-man front and would be susceptible to play-action, but to expect that now would be too much to ask. So get your popcorn ready and sit back expect to see 3-4 wide receivers attack a nine-man front and hope Temple’s defense can overcome that kind of convoluted gameplan.
As Terrell Owens might say, “It’s gonna be a show” but the entertainment value could be questionable.
Pop Warner would probably be turning over in his grave, perhaps muttering something about how he would have never hired an offensive coordinator from Tennessee-Chattanooga.