No respect for the Owls by the scruffy guy and the young guy.
A real rivalry is like a delicious cake in that it needs a few basic ingredients to be meet the minimum taste standards.
Geography, animosity (at least with the fan bases, but it would also help with the coaching staffs) and arrogance from one or the other parties makes for a good college football rivalry. This used to be a rivalry in the 1930s and 1940s. Even an old headline in a newspaper (see inset) acknowledged that.
Years of Temple futility followed and ended the rivalry and fostered a decades-long lack of respect for the Owls. All of those ingredients are there for Temple and Penn State except one: Respect. The PSU fan base and even their own “experts” are predicting a beating of Temple similar to what PSU did to a very poor Kent State team.
If they think another version of Kent State is coming to town, they will be in for a huge surprise on Saturday (noon, Big 10 Network). Temple is in another stratosphere than Kent State.
Only one thing needs to be done to get that respect and the Owls know what it is: Win at Penn State and win for the second year in a row.
You would think the Owls would have earned at least that with a 27-10 win last year, but instead all they have received is a lot of excuses. “If James Franklin had coached a better game” or “if Saquon Barkley got the ball more” the Nittany Lions would have won. From my seat at Lincoln Financial Field, Franklin had nothing to do with his offensive line getting boatraced by the Owls’ defensive line. Barkley’s one carry was for minus-1 yard. After that, maybe an objective observer can see why Franklin did not have a whole lot of confidence in giving the ball to Barkley again.
In my lifetime, Temple has only had three real rivalries—Delaware, Rutgers and Villanova—and, while Penn State always met the geographic requirement, the other rivalries always had it over anything Penn State-Temple. There was a real dislike between the coaching staffs at Delaware and Temple when Tubby Raymond coached one team and Wayne Hardin the other. Temple was where Delaware was when Hardin was hired. Hardin took the Owls to the “big time” and Raymond always resented it. That made for a good rivalry.
Rutgers always thought it was better than Temple, but it never proved it on the field over the long haul as the series is basically even. The Rutgers’ fan base is New York arrogant and, after Temple beat Rutgers four-straight times, it was Rutgers who was retained by the Big East and not Temple and that made for a lot of resentment. That was a great rivalry.
Villanova kept Temple out of the Big East and Temple resented it and, when Steve Addazio beat Villanova, 42-7, and 42-10, in back-to-back years, that was extra satisfying for Temple.
Since this is the last meeting between Penn State and Temple and the Penn State fan base seems to have learned little from the beating they received last year, the only thing to cement this as a rivalry in the minds of a lot of people is for Temple to go out by winning two in a row.
That would be extra sweet Karma on a day that the Penn State community broadcasts its tone-deafness by honoring Joe Paterno. Beating Penn State up there would earn the Owls a measure of respect that even 27 unanswered points a year ago has not yielded. Maybe, just maybe, that is the only ingredient needed now for a real rivalry.
The Owls know what needs to be done and they need to do it.
Saturday: Game Analysis