It’s a new team and probably a better one than last year’s version.
Unfortunately, many of us have heard the “c” word and the “b” word and the “f” word but it took until AAC Media Day earlier this week for Temple football fans to hear the “u” word for the first time.
That’s a pretty sweet word and it rolled off quarterback Phillip Walker’s tongue like a double-layered cake. As far as I can recall, that’s the first time a Temple player has uttered the “u” word in any formal setting, although I’m sure a couple of guys might have dreamed about it out loud during an off-season weightlifting session.
Asked by a media member what the team’s goals were, Phillip said: “League championship, unbeaten season …”
Unbeaten season? Why not?
For most of my adult life, I never associated “unbeaten season” with Temple as an achievable goal. This year it might be on that top shelf of reachable things. At the very least, an unbeaten regular season is in play. A few months ago, I wrote I believed this team had all of the ingredients to break the school record for wins with 11 and that should be the minimum goal (with the maximum one being an AAC title).
If you can win 11, you can win 12 and that’s what Phillip Walker is talking about. Every year, I’ve been following Temple, the Owls usually lose a game or two they should not or win a game or two they should not. To reach an unbeaten season, though, pattern will have to be broken. This year might be the year. (The exception was the 1979 team, which lost to only two top 10 teams by a grand total of 16 points. Also, the 1974 team lost only to a much higher-ranked Boston College team.)
First, they will take a lot of confidence from a 2-0 start into Penn State. They will also take a proven four-year starting quarterback there against an untested rookie. Win there, and that opens a wide path for 7-0 going into USF, which is at home this year. Forty thousand crazed Temple fans can make a difference in that one. I don’t buy this fallacy that USF has “too much” for Temple this year. USF lost to Western Kentucky, so let’s pump the brakes on comparing them to Alabama. Of course, Temple lost to Toledo.
Win there, and it’s an Autobahn ride to 12-0.
Since all of the above puts the title game in Philly, 13-0 is also possible. Now 14-0 or 15-0, that might be another shelf no vertical leap can reach but it is fun thinking about.
Monday: Roster Thoughts