Beyond Unfinished Business

The linebacker corps is in good hands with 3 returning starters.

The bad news for all but one of the 127 teams is that nobody is going to win the national football championship like our neighbors, who shall remain nameless, won the national basketball title.

All but that one team, of course, and, at this point, it doesn’t look like it will be Temple. (However, if you want a nice $10,000 return on a measly $10 investment and believe in the Owls, sportsbook is taking bets.)

When the Owls made “Unfinished Business” their team slogan this year, they probably did not mean winning the national championship but the good news today is there is a whole list of ancillary goals that would finish the business.

tieins

AAC bowl tie-ins this season.

It starts with the American Athletic Conference championship, which is well within reach. All the Owls have to do to secure home field, presumably against Houston, is to run the table in their seven home games and not be upset on the road. They will probably be favored at Memphis and at UConn, two of their tougher road games. They can even afford a loss at Penn State and still achieve that goal. Home field should beget a win over USF (hey, it did in 2012) and a crowd of 40,000-plus rabid Temple fans in the AAC championship game could be the difference.

What about Beyond Unfinished Business?

Even if the Owls do not reach their No. 1 goal, there are a number of ways the business conducted this season could be better than the work done last year. Winning a school-record 11 games is within reach and that’s some nice work. Beyond that, though, the AAC has seven bowl tie-ins and the team’s (and especially the administration’s) goal has to be to get the Owls in a bowl game against a Power 5 team. Last year, Owls Daily editor Shawn Pastor reported that the administration was offered the Birmingham Bowl against Auburn and a bowl in Louisiana against Virginia Tech, but turned down both offers to play near a large alumni fan base in Florida.

Big mistake.

This year, “Unfinished Business” also means taking care of business once those offers are on the table. That means no “turning down” any of these three bowls should the Owls be offered one:

Birmingham Bowl Dec. 29, 2016

Birmingham, Ala. – vs. SEC

St. Petersburg Bowl Dec. 26, 2016

St. Petersburg, Fla. – vs. ACC

Military Bowl presented by Northrop Grumman Dec. 29, 2016

Annapolis, Md. – vs. ACC

The other bowl tie-ins are the Miami Beach Bowl and Bahamas Bowl (both versus MAC foes),  and the Boca Raton Bowl vs. Conference USA. Thanks, but no thanks. Been there, done that.

While winning the national championship would be nice, and winning the AAC the real deal, getting those 11 wins and beating a Power 5 team in a bowl would also qualify for Unfinished Business and be more than acceptable consolation prizes.

It all begins in a little over two weeks against Army and the focus then and every week hence is going to have to be laser-sharp, but  this is a business deal that should be profitable.

Monday: The Next Big Red One

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23 thoughts on “Beyond Unfinished Business

  1. Mike, totally agree if any of those 3 bowls are available you go. Basically made the same choices when the question was asked on the TU Football Fan FB page

    • The biggest thing about the bowl situation last was not where or who we played. The lack of preparation and focus led to the most significant fact – we lost the fu*&in game.

      Had we won Temple would have finished the season in the Top 25, and achieved two of the Big 3: Bowl Win and Top 25 finish.

      If we lose the AAC Championship Game this year we could still finish the season with a bowl win and ranked. I would go back to the Boca Bowl vs a MAC rather than take a bigger risk against a P5 in front of their home crowd.

      A bowl win and Top 25 ranking is bigger than playing against a P5 team in a hostile environment.., think about it

      • think about the choices and the desired end of year outcomes. Win the game, put a trophy in the case, finish in the Top 25, sharp shinny tools in the recruiting kit bag, alumni in South Florida give money, etc, etc.., why would you risk that just to say you played a P5 team on their home turf?

        Focus and take the sure thing. If we don’t win the AAC Championship there are very compelling reason to go back to Boca
        1. Bowl Win
        2. Trophy in the case
        3. Bowl Ring
        4. Top 25 Finish
        5. South Florida recruiting
        6. South Florida Alumni Money

        I would go back to Boca if I were the AD in a heartbeat

    • Pretty sure the only reason they went to Boca is because the assistant AD helped build the stadium there and they wanted to showcase Boca II to the Temple stadium donors they were wooing. Losing to Toledo killed us. Killed us. That was a chance we should not have taken. No positive in beating Toledo, plenty of negatives in losing to them. When I heard we were playing Toledo, I had two words “blah” and “meh” and I can’t believe those words were not in the back of the minds of some of our kids.

  2. I would go back to Boca only if it the opportunity presented itself to play and beat a Power 5 team. Going back to Boca to play a CUSA team or a MAC team is not in the best interests of Temple University, which needs to further its P5 aspirations. I can guarantee you the kids would have been focused if they had a chance to play an Auburn last year. That might have cut down on a lot of the air hockey and the beach volleyball we saw.

  3. Yes Mike, and there’s no beaches in Birmingham, AL to distract from focusing on the game. Seems like the coaches were already satisfied with the season last year and just let the kids have some fun, regardless of Temple’s football goals.

    • You play to win the game, as Herman Edwards said. We played in Boca to enjoy the beach volleyball, air hockey, bowling and crocodiles/alligators and, yeah, OK we’re going to try to win the game, too. You can only do so much in a finite amount of time. I did not like what I saw before last year’s Boca Bowl and wrote about it here. Herm Edwards would not have liked it, either.

  4. Mike, I know we beat USF two years ago at home, but that was in a downpour, where USF tried to run their regular offense. They coughed the ball up multiple times aided by our standout defense, and our defense won the game. (Our offense was basically three plays and a punt.) I think we can beat them this year in our house but I think it will be a tough battle, as they have something to prove.

    • Good point. I guess they have something to prove, but wouldn’t the team that LOST to them last year have more to prove? Also, the USF coach said his team won the AAC East last year, even though they finished a game behind, because they had to play Navy and we didn’t. Hmm. I would think that would be Bulletin Board material. Anyway, I think USF is the toughest team in the schedule and that includes Penn State.

      • I think we are in agreement. USF will be tough but we can beat them at home. As a long suffering fan, (about 50 years) if we have to lose one game, I don’t know which would hurt more Penn State or USF. I hope we don’t have to face either loss.

    • I think you are thinking of the ECU game. The Owls didn’t playUSF in 2014.

      • I’m am thinking the USF game, 2012, when Daz was coach. We won, 37-28, when our 6-6 guy (Deon Miller) blocked what would have been the winning field goal. Always felt giving a football scholarship to a 7-foot basketball player with a 97-inch wingspan and a 41-inch vertical leap (Devonte Watson) just to block field goals. would have been a better use of a scholarship.

      • :You are right John. I have trouble keeping all these directional schools straight.

  5. …if you guys seriously had a chance to play Auburn in Birmingham or VT in the Independence Bowl (a game that’s been around for almost 40 years) and passed on it to play in Boca on a random Tuesday night before Christmas, then whoever made that call should never be allowed to make that call again without some sort of approval for a higher up. Horrible, horrible decision IMO for a number of reasons.

    Joe P.

    • Yes, as the runnerup in the league, commissioner Mike Aresco felt it only fair to give Temple first dibs on the next bowl and Temple was given three choices–Birmingham, Louisiana or Florida–and they picked the wrong one. I chalk it up to the inexperienced Indiana people running Temple and the thirst for stadium donors. Since the top Indiana guy (school president) was fired, would be surprised if the other Indiana guys (CFO and AD) stay.

      • Temple struggled down the stretch, Toledo outplayed us and so would the other p-5 schools if we would have played any of those schools in a bowl game. The team seemed gassed after the ND game. All yesterday’s news however, it’s 2016 and the schedule is soft enough for 8 wins and if injuries to key players are minimal, I think 9-10 wins are possible. Top twenty five finish will be difficult because of the weak schedule overall. Keys for 2016 are keeping thomas healthy, walker must improve by being more than a game manager, online and dline must not drop off too much from last year and the two new corners must play well. I think the offense might be the strength of this team.

      • The outlier of struggling down the stretch was the 28-3 win over a bowl team UConn. Losing to a Toledo team with only half of its coaching staff (the other half went to Iowa State with Matt Campbell to recruit) was a disaster that rested solely with the Temple coaches, not the kids. I hope the Temple coaches, as well as the kids, have a chip on their shoulder this year. Hopefully, Satterfield’s departure is the difference between 10 wins last year and 11 this year.

      • Mike, I was responding to Fast Phil who said TU won against USF two years ago in the rain.

    • My bad. I missed that Phil comment. (Sorry Phil and John.) Too many alphabet teams in this conference.

  6. I was not in the room so I do not know what the thinking was, but ask yourself this. What is the top priority . . . an on-campus stadium or a P5 invite? The answer hs to be a resounding P5 invite. An on campus stadium means nothing if we are stuck in AAC forever.

    However, none of us know what conversations the AD has had with the Big 12 or ACC. Maybe they have both told Temple that they would be much more attractive with an on campus stadium. If that is the case, then they made the right call.

    The problem was the prep for the game. Coaches did not treat it as a game, they treated it as a reward.

    • P5 invite, no doubt, hands down.

      • Without a P-5 invite might as well fold up the tent. These conferences are all going to go to nine conference games thereby limiting the number of non-conference games. They are after all of the money. It will eventually affect BB especially teams without football. Can see the five conferences leaving the NCAA.

  7. Could not agree more. Right now, there’s a schism between the P5 and the G5 and the National championship process is so rigged in favor of the P5 it seems like a Saddam Hussein election. If the BCS schools (top 64) split, the G5 will be the new FCS and the current FCS will be a division below that (maybe we can again call them Division I-AA).

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