Lambert Trophy Another Casualty of 3-4 Finish


Army accepts Lambert Trophy in 1953.

Ever feel like you have a train schedule for a pretty neat destination and just kept putting off getting on the train until you are standing on the platform not knowing if the last train left?


Nov. Lambert poll with current records.

That’s the feeling I have as a Temple fan today, watching  some other team pick up a trophy the Owls had wrapped up most of the fall. I really think that this year might have been the Owls’ best chance at getting that elusive Lambert Trophy, emblematic of football supremacy in the East. They’ve been giving this trophy out since 1936 and Temple has not won it once. Chalk up another casualty to the head-scratching 3-4 finish.

There is a possibility another train arrives next year and the Owls better hop on it because the station closes after that. Penn State’s Top 10 recruiting classes will start to make an impact no later than two years down the line, and, after that, the rest of the P5 recruiting will separate other Eastern schools from Temple. I really believe Temple can win this thing next year with another 10-2 record or better, but the Owls will have to beat Penn State again. I think they can. After that, PSU is off the schedule and probably not coming back.

The Owls will be watching the Military Bowl today (2:30, ESPN) and the winner of that game gets the Lambert Trophy. It will be a reminder of how college football should be and not how it is.


Since Navy was No. 1 and Pitt was No. 2 in the last poll released in mid-November, the winner will get this trophy. The leader in the September and October polls, Temple, was ranked No. 3 in the November poll and lost its bowl game.

The Lambert Trophy comes from a different time when there were no conferences but football was played at a high level in the East. Joe Paterno of Penn State was the coach with the most trophies (28). The Nittany Lions added another trophy with coach Bill O’Brien in 2013.  Pitt has won it six times and Navy four. Had Temple not lost three of its last four games, it would have surely won its first Lambert Trophy ever this year.

The Lambert Trophy is a reminder of how a regional conference of the large, mostly public, institutions makes a lot more sense than having Eastern teams like West Virginia (Big 12), Syracuse,  Pitt and Boston College (ACC) and Navy and Temple (AAC) scattered all over the map.

How great would it be for a conference of the top seven teams in the latest poll? Those were, in order, Navy, Pitt, Temple, West Virginia, Penn State, Connecticut and Virginia Tech.  Throw in Boston College, Maryland, Syracuse and Rutgers and that conference just makes too much sense.

That’s why it will never happen, but the Lambert Trophy people should be applauded for keeping a nice thought alive. If college presidents had any sense, that’s the conference the Eastern schools should be playing in today. Those schools would save millions on travel and add millions of visiting fans in ticket revenue due to short driving distances.

That train has left the station, too.


8 thoughts on “Lambert Trophy Another Casualty of 3-4 Finish

  1. I just hope the second half of the past 2 seasons isn’t the long term trend of Rhule teams. Last year cost the team a “no question” bowl bid at 7-5. This year the second half slump cost home field for the championship, NY6 bowl bid, Top 25 ranking and the Lambert Trophy. So if this program is really moving forward, as so many pointed out in the “best season ever” comments then this trend needs to be reversed. On a similar topic, i have started to see comments from some of the same people feeling that this team will only win 7 games in 2016, “need” the Stonybrook game to be bowl eligible, etc. Come on, if this program is truly moving forward I look at 8 wins as the floor with next seasons schedule with a legit possibility to win 10 or 11 games

  2. Toledo had no problems getting motivated for the games…, they are an experienced bowl team, 5 out of the last six years, and it showed..,

    i chalk this up to an inexperienced Temple staff to include the AD’s office.., someone should have reminded MR that you play to win the game and what was at stake – Lambert Trophy, Top 25 rankings, etc, etc…,

    everyone down there was in a party mode and just happy to be there in stark comparison to Toledo.., even the Toledo pre-game alumni tent was serious.., it was a business convention atmosphere over there compared to the Temple party tent….,

    all year MR was preaching ‘this team will go to a bowl game’…, he should have said “this team will win a bowl game”…., HUGE difference between “going” vs “winning”

    IMHO MR was entirely to comfortable with finishing the season 3-4, and losing the last two by being out-coached and out-played…,

    this “Process” requires major adjustments in strategy. alignment is an issue, seriously don’t believe we have the physical talent to play the proclaimed brand of football on offense.

    Either we recruit bigger, stronger, and faster players or adapt our approach to fit the talent on the roster, and we have a great deal of talent on offense…, Arians and Hardin would lead the league in total offense with this talent.,

    • when we get beat because we can’t do simple stuff that is all coaching-related (hurry up offense at Houston; throwing 4-yard passes on 3d and 7 and 7-yard passes on 3d and 10 against Toledo; not rolling P.J. out of pressure, etc., etc., etc.) those are huge red flags. Totally agree that this should have been a business trip and the business should be winning. Temple’s reputation took a huge hit with that loss and we will be spending the next eight months trying to wash that bad taste out of our mouths. I just got a two-for-one Listerine at Rite-Aid yesterday. I hope it works.

      every time I get pissed off about us being forced to play toledo, I think of the absolute truth spoken in the first minute of this video:

  3. agree, the most shocking thing for me is the players and coaches think our offense is just fine.., hello? MR was not hesitant to call the defense out last year.., and he established well publicized goals for the defense at the start of the season.., zero goals for the offense, why?

    we do not have a two-minute offense, at least one that is productive. It would be interesting to know how many points per opportunity by two-minute drill..,

    i have a feeling we are going to do more of the same and expect better results.., still think this team will win 8 games next year based on talent alone.., it will take an infusion of better talent and/or changes to the scheme and play calling to win more than 8 games

    • definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. I think a little tweaking will improve the offense, not necessarily a complete overhaul. Rolling P.J. out, which we almost never did, would be a significant improvement. Give him a run/pass option. Seam passes over the middle to Colin Thompson and Kip Patton another. Didn’t do that nearly enough. Finally, getting rid of the “dog stare” offense. Allow P.J. to save time when needed by reading the defense and calling into the right play without looking at the sideline. Little tweaks could make a big difference.

      • Frankly, we’re back to Go because of Sattefield. In today’s era where offenses are so innovative he settles for a “system” and doesn’t deviate. The system had been the quick out pass for two seasons and now it’s the read option, even though the QB almost never runs, and underneath passes. It’s mind boggling given the wideouts and tight ends this team has. The team can stretch the field as it showed at the end of the Toledo game and yet that part of the offense was hardly used during most games. Just can’t understand it. Smash mouth is fine but when teams put eight in the box like UMass and the teams did at the end of the season, it’s time to go to play action and/or plays down field. One other thing, qbs who consistently throw to receivers who are not past the first down marker need to be benched. That goes to receivers who don’t get to the sticks and coaches who call plays inside the marker.

  4. do not understand for the life of me why temple doesn’t have the receiver run to the sticks, turn and catch the ball in a timing pattern. we run these 3-4 yard passes on 3d and 7 and 3d and 10 all of the time, especially against toledo.

    • JT will be a pro with 15 more lbs.., in the meantime we can’t have him consistently run between the tackles.., our OL has to zone block and pass protect with equal ability, so they need to get bigger and stronger now…, and what happened to play-action?

      PJ has a cheat sheet on his arm the size of War and Peace, no more dog stares! teach, coach, and mentor so he can make the calls on the line.., he will do no worse than Satterfield and in half the time.., so frustrating..,

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