For a lot of us, probably me included, it is a good thing we don’t live in Las Vegas.
We would either be living in a poor house or a mansion but probably not in between.
I don’t feel a great urge to gamble much, but when I see certain things involving Temple football—like last year’s ambush of a bowl game in Boca Raton or last year’s opener in South Philadelphia—the urge is strong enough to walk to Las Vegas and place a few sheckles on an event. (I know tons of friends who do bet online and leave their credit card information offshore, but I am not willing to do that.)
I would never bet against the Owls, but the administration put the team in an impossible spot with really nothing to win by beating Toledo last year and a few dollars would have eased my pain for that loss I saw coming a mile away.
This year’s “easiest money in all of sports” involves the Owls’ third game of the season, a Sept. 17th date at Penn State. The Owls are 6.5-point underdogs and they shouldn’t be. Looking at this objectively, which I can do (see last year’s pre-Toledo post), I cannot see how this should be anything but a pick-em at worst and a slight Owl lean at best.
That’s why grabbing the 6.5 now is a gift you can thank me for later.
My reasoning is simple. Two relatively easy tuneups, Army and Stony Brook, ease some talented newcomers into the lineup to help the holdovers and bring them up to speed. Penn State has a tough, emotional, game at Pitt the week before and that will take a lot out of Nits. (They don’t think it will be emotional, but Pitt will hit them in the chops and they will respond but the fight could be bloody.)
This year’s version of the Owls’ defense—which returns three starters at linebacker in Stephaun Marshall, Avery Williams and Jarred Alwan—return. Despite the loss of Tyler Matakevich, this should be a better linebacker group. They are faster and better at pass coverage and, in Alwan’s words, their “chemistry is ridiculous.” Ridiculous, as in good. The linemen in front of them—Haason Reddick, Karamo Dioubate, Avery Robinson, Greg Webb and either Praise Martin-Oguike or Sharif Finch—represent the fastest Temple group in the last decade. There is solid depth behind them with guys like Michael Dogbe and Freddy Booth-Lloyd, who can easily fight themselves into the starting lineup.
With a four-year starter at quarterback in Phillip Walker, and an All-AAC running back like Jahad Thomas, the offense should not have too much difficulty moving the ball against Penn State. On the other side of the field, Penn State will have a rookie quarterback facing a four-year starter.
Mix all of that in, and a don’t think a home-field advantage is going to be enough to rattle these Owls. In fact, I think the South Florida game at home later in the season will be much tougher to win.
Wednesday: Don’t Mess With Phil
Friday: Checking Off The Boxes
Monday: The Andres Blanco Of Temple
Wednesday (7/20): Recharging The Batteries
Friday (7/22): Owls Will Internet
Monday (7/25): The Unwashed Masses