As a kid, one of the most popular snack food items was Cracker Jack.
It was OK tasting, but the real appeal was the prizes in the box.
You never knew what was going to be in the box, but it was usually something interesting like a bird whistle, a dancing skeleton or magic kit. Nothing elaborate, but something to pass the time.
Going into Costco the other day and seeing those boxes of Cracker Jack got me to thinking that this 2017 season will be like that snack. You know it’s going to be good, but you also know there will be a surprise or two along the way.
Hopefully, like the box, it will be an interesting one.
The assumption on the outside is that Temple will take a step back and probably cede the title to USF this season. I subscribe to the step back theory, not the ceding title one.
This year, Temple will not have to win 10 games to win the title; I think it could still win it winning as few as eight games and I think that’s a reasonable goal.
Another assumption from a personnel standpoint is that the loss of P.J. Walker will mean Temple takes a big hit at that position and that his successor will be a game manager, rather than a star.
That’s where the Cracker Jack surprise comes into play.
We don’t know if Geoff Collins is a great gameday coach or just another great assistant who rose to his highest level of competence. If he beats Notre Dame and pummels the crap out of Villanova, we will know our answer in the first two weeks. Same if he loses to both. Not so much with a split, though. Going 2-0 with a Mayhem defense that causes turnovers and puts quarterbacks on their asses with regularity would be the ticket.
I think the most interesting prize in the box could be the QB position, where any one of three quarterbacks–Anthony Russo, Frank Nutile or Logan Marchi–emerge.
Marchi has been referred to as a “Poor Man’s Johnny Manziel” without the off-the-field baggage. If he beats out the other two and wins the job, and has anywhere close to the rookie season Manziel had at Texas A&M, the Owls will be a national story. Same, too, for Russo, who is the most highly recruited Temple quarterback since Ron Dickerson grabbed Parade First-Team All-American Kevin Harvey out of Paulsboro. Harvey became a pretty good defensive back but never the QB many predicted he would become. If the Owls succeed with Russo at the helm, that could open a pipeline to local talent for years.
Plenty of surprises ahead in this box because we do not know what is inside. I can’t wait to unwrap it on 9/2/17.
Monday: Birthday Wishes
Wednesday: Krafting a Better Schedule