Sometimes, quoting a Deity sums everything up in a nice tight box with a ribbon on top: “Father forgive them for they know not what they do.”
Or, at least in this case, write.
Under the “what were they thinking” comes this little prediction from a University of Massachusetts’ fan named Daniel Malone disguised as a journalist: “I think the fan turnout at Gillette will be strong, helping UMass earn its first home win of the year.”
First off, even though the article was written a month ago, going off what he knew from last year it doesn’t make any sense. UMass was 3-9 last year in a weaker conference. Temple was 6-6 and a “strong” fan turnout at Gillette is about 12,000 spaced out in a 70,000-seat stadium. That faux “crowd” didn’t figure to intimidate anyone even then.
Knowing what we know now, though, it will hardly would phase a Temple team that played in front of a near-capacity bandbox of nearly 40,000 fans in Cincinnati a week ago.
Secondly, much has changed in the first two weeks. The Owls have pummeled a Big 10 team, Penn State, that many had winning 10 games before the season started. Then they had a 34-12 lead into the fourth quarter over a Cincinnati team that was the consensus preseason favorite to win the AAC. As a point of reference, last year, a 6-6 Penn State team beat UMass, 48-7. Other than Penn State, the two teams had one common opponent a year ago, Vanderbilt. The Owls handled Vandy, 37-7. UMass lost to Vandy, 34-31.The Minutemen lost to Boston College (30-7), the fake Miami (42-41), Akron (30-6) and Buffalo (41-21).
UMass lost its only game of this season to Colorado, 48-14.
Yes, a strong fan turnout will be the difference in this one.
Tomorrow: A one-word game plan.
Saturday: ESPN Gameday and Depth Charts
Sunday: Game Analysis
Monday: Photo Essay