When the fans pour a few pre-game brewskis at the first home tailgate of the year, roughly 50 percent of them will be seeing that cup as half-full and the other group has half-empty.
That’s the short view coming after a shocking, at least to me, 49-16, loss to Notre Dame in the opener.
Ordinarily, Temple losing 49-16 to Notre Dame is not shocking but count me with the half-empty group after the opening week of the season. The logic is indisputable: Notre Dame was coming off a 4-8 season and Temple was coming off a 10-4 season. During that season, Notre Dame had lost to a Navy team that Temple clocked, 34-10. Notre Dame, last we checked, did not get a significant influx of transfers in from Alabama or Ohio State. Temple, last we checked, had plenty of guys who were significant players on their championship team returning.
Temple SHOULD have given Notre Dame a much better game. Maybe not my prediction of 17-13, but, say, 28-16. Forty-nine to 16 was unacceptable and has shaken a lot of fans’ confidence in this new coaching staff. Not the players, because guys like Ryquell Armstead and Adonis Jennings and Nick Sharga were as key to the success of last year’s Owls as any of the NFL departed stars on offense and guys like Michael Dogbe, Delvon Randall and Sean Chandler were just as important on defense as anyone not named Haason Reddick.
The coaches changed, mostly, for both teams one group of coaches over-performed and the other under-performed. That’s why a number of fans see what has happened so far as alarming, appalling and shocking. Perhaps just as appalling to me was the fact that Collins, in his AAC media day interview, went down a list of defensive players and every single name (at least a half-dozen players, maybe more) were players who he said “played well” or “played at a high level.”
I immediately went to the toilet and puked. (Just kidding, but no one plays well on defense giving up 49 points. Three points, yes. Six points, yes. Forty-freaking-nine points, no.)
Hopefully, like another SEC coordinator Temple hired, Steve Addazio, Collins understands our intense hatred of Villanova and coaches accordingly on Saturday. Daz “got” the rivalry and he produced 42-7 and 41-10 wins over that team. That’s what I’m hoping for Collins to produce on Saturday for this Temple fan base so bitterly disappointed by the first week.
That’s the short view, though.
Long view, over several decades, is how far Temple football has come.
One of the greatest Temple fans, Ted DeLapp, posted this remarkable headline from the 1975 Temple-Villanova game, a 41-3 win before 6,734 fans at Veterans Stadium.
That was not a misprint.
Six-thousand, seven hundred and thirty-four. Archbishop Ryan and Father Judge drew 11,000 fans to their game that same year. North Catholic and Frankford drew roughly the same amount.
One fan commented that it “was pouring rain that day” but DeLapp looked up the NWS forecast data from that day in Philadelphia and said only 0.03 inches of rain that day fell at the airport, which is only a couple of miles from the Vet. Amazing how people’s memories fail them.
On Saturday, upwards of 32,000 (or thereabouts) will see Temple host Villanova. The Wildcats are a top 10 FCS program and the Owls, while not the Top 25 program new coach Geoff Collins claims they are in the FBS, certainly flirted with the Top 25 in the last two seasons before being stood up in the last two bowl games.
Short view, for Temple at least, glass is half-empty.
Long view, half-full, especially considering that thousands of more people are both interested and invested in Temple football than 40 or so years ago.
Saturday around 6:30 p.m. or so if what’s in that cup taste like sewer water, it’s going to be a long season. Collins gets a Mulligan on the first week, but there will be no Mulligans going forward.
Sunday: Game Analysis