First, the good news: the weather for Temple’s football game at Charlotte could be a whole lot worse than things appear now.
Tropical Storm Joaquin “meandered” off the cost of Bermuda for so long, stopping, then going southeast, before making a slow turn up the coast and apparently headed for North Carolina that it will not get there until Sunday. Although Jerry Richardson Stadium (15,000 capacity) seats about 6K more than Northeast High and 7K less than Allentown’s J. Birney Crum Stadium, it does have a state-of-the-art turf field that should absorb rain.
Now the bad news: there’s going to be a whole lot of rain and wind and that is never good for the more talented team. Ask UConn in 2008 when the 17.5-point favorite Huskies needed overtime (and an incredibly bad holding call on Temple wide receiver Travis Shelton) to win, 12-6, in overtime. Ask ECU last season when a double-digit road favorite came out a double-digit loser, thanks to turnovers. The forecast changes every few hours, so there is always hope.
Bad weather is never a friend of a more talented team with multiple weapons that thrives on a dry field and that’s what Temple is on Friday night (7 p.m., CBS Sports Network). Temple is a 24.5-point favorite, the largest road margin in Temple history. The previous road favorite margin was -15 at Akron in 2011 (the Owls won that game, 41-3, but it was on a dry field). Charlotte has had some interesting results, more so last year when it beat FCS No. 23 Albany, 31-28, on the road and hung tight with this year’s SMU-killer James Madison, 48-40, at home. This year, though, the team has two wins over cupcakes before being torched for 73 points by the only decent team so far on the schedule, Middle Tennessee State. Don’t expect the Owls to score 73 points, though, because MTSU is a much-better coached team, offensively, than Temple is and recognizes that the tight end is an eligible receiver and can be utilized as an effective weapon.
The biggest question coming out of this game is going to be whether the Owls are the team that beat Penn State and Cincinnati or struggled against a truly horrible UMass team. I think UMass was an aberration. At least that’s the hope. The big difference was that the Owls had a commitment to the run in the first two games that they abandoned in the UMass game. For this team to realize its potential, it must be successful in establishing the run and throw off play action. The weather could dictate a lot of what the Owls do on Friday. So we might have to wait until next week against Tulane to get a better reading on the Owls because weather could be the great equalizer here. Got to think the Owls win this one; it just might not be 25-0.
Temple biggest home margin came as a 29.5 favorite in 2010, also against Akron. In a great testament to the people in Vegas, Temple won, 30-0. (It’s amazing how close these lines are sometimes.) One line-killer is weather and, tropical storm or not, it does not look good at this point for the favorites.
Bad weather never does.