Of all the Vince Vaughn movie titles the Temple football team could have used for a 2016 slogan, the final choice was Unfinished Business.
Since Swingers and Return to Paradise did not seem like appropriate themes for a college football season, it was probably the best choice for a couple of reasons. Unfinished is a nod to the notion that the 3-4 finish of 2015 was unacceptable and admitting the problem is the first step to solving it. A lot of the problem was the result of a knock-down, drag-out, game against Notre Dame but a team that trains as hard as Temple should have been able to physically respond from a physical game and that is something the Owls have to fix going forward.
There were other issues that caused the 3-4 that need to be fixed, preferably by the mid-April spring game. The team needs to find a better method to contain dual-threat quarterbacks. Nobody contained Houston quarterback Greg Ward, but even a mediocre Maryland team contained South Florida’s Quinton Flowers and Temple will have to study what Maryland did in a 35-17 win and try to copy that against all other dual-threat quarterbacks. More unfinished work is fixing an inefficient offense. Having to look to the sideline in the final quarter of the Houston game for the AAC championship robbed them of the chance of making that game competitive. It has to be ditched for a more streamlined approach when trailing in the final quarter of games.
The business part of the slogan is a reminder that bowl games are going to have to be business trips. The fun in bowl games is lifting that trophy at the end of the game, not bowling, kayaking or beach volleyball that the Owls overdosed on at the Boca Raton Bowl.A little birdie (Owl) told us that there was open curfew the night before the first practice and that many of the players got into their hotel rooms at 3 a.m. They had to practice at 8 a.m. and there was throwing up on the field and much joking about it. That, in my mind, was a wasted practice. Judging from what happened on the field against Toledo, it may not have been the only one. Temple fans who stayed at the Toledo hotel were reporting fewer such side trips and late night curfew busting the Rockets. Perhaps not coincidentally, Toledo won the game, 32-17.
The 2015 slogan “Leave No Doubt” served this past team well because it was an original slogan born out of a heartfelt speech by departing senior Kenny Harper a year ago when the team wasn’t picked for a bowl despite qualifying. Harper’s message to his teammates was “leave no doubt” by finishing with such a good record that bowls would have to choose the team. That part of Harper’s speech stuck and was the 2015 rallying cry.
This year’s “Unfinished Business” is a recycled one done by a number of teams before. Recycling saves energy, though, and the Owls certainly ran out of that commodity at the end of the season so maybe this slogan will help sustain them through what they hope will be a longer season in 2016.