There can be little doubt that Tyler Matakevich and Kyle Friend will be the two best players on the 2015 version of the Temple Owls. Heck, they were this past season.
Today’s release of the All-American team was a perfect illustration of why both guys need to be heavily promoted for the Rimington and Bednarik Awards for the nation’s best center and linebacker, respectively.
You cannot tell me that there are nine linebackers in the country better than the Owls’ Tyler Matakevich or nine centers better than his teammate, Kyle Friend, who manhandled a first-round NFL draft choice from Notre Dame two seasons ago. Yet that is precisely what the Associated Press’ All-American team release was telling me today.
Heavily promoting both for the nation’s top award at those positions would help solve that problem. Temple did the same in 1986 for Paul Palmer, when it came up with a clever comic book idea that promoted Boo-Boo for the Heisman Trophy. He did not win it, coming as close as possible—losing to Miami’s Vinny Testaverde and ahead of such luminaries as Oklahoma’s Brian Bosworth and Michigan’s Jim Harbaugh.
The Owls’ promotion department—not the sports information arm led by Al Shrier–mailed the comic book to all 1,056 of the Heisman voters at the time and, since many of the Heisman voters were members of the national press corps, a few of them took the time to write a column about it and Palmer’s name was out there in places it would have not normally been.
The Owls’ mounted a half-hearted campaign to get Bernard Pierce the Heisman, but put it up only on billboards in the Philadelphia area and it drew little notice across the country.
Shoot for the top and settle for something less or shoot for the top and get to the top. It’s up to Temple now. They have the ball and a chance to score big now. Let’s hope they don’t use three wides and ignore the running game here, too.
The Owls’ 2014 running game might have been a joke, but copying the comic book idea for these two guys would not be.