Cracker Jack Surprises

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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

Sustainability

Pedersen

If Geoff Collins commits to Temple like Chris Pedersen did to BSU, that would stabilize things.

One of the side benefits of this Labor of Love called Temple Football Forever is reading some of the comments.

Generally speaking, the comments are a little more insightful here than they are on Philly.com or OwlsDaily or Owlscoop.
Maybe I’m just biased, but that’s the way I feel. I think part of the reason for this is that we discuss issues here related to the viability and sustainability of the program and do not generally delve into puff pieces on the players. The reason for that is simply that this site is dedicated to the long-term fans of the program. Players come and go, parents come and go and coaches come and go, but the fans are here forever. This site is for the fans of the program for the past 20 years or longer and hopefully for the fans of the team for the next 20 years. That’s why the future is such an important topic here.
Hence, Temple Football Forever.
A couple of recent ones knocked my socks off and pretty much explained where we are as a program and why we are there.
kjone

To me, there’s a fourth option here and that is to go the Boise State route and find an outstanding coach willing to put eight years in the program like Chris Pedersen was with BSU.  For awhile, Boise State had its pick between the old Big East and the Big 12. It picked the old Big East, but when the Big East became the AAC it opted out. For Temple to truly become the “Boise State of the East” it’s important that Temple become that wanted commodity. Is it realistic? Boise State is not the university Temple is in any non-football respect, so if the Broncos could do it there is no reason Temple cannot. For me, the way to do it is better vetting of future Temple coaches. I cannot believe that the subject of the coaching revolving door did not come up in the Geoff Collins’ vetting process, but apparently it did not. For that, shame on Pat Kraft and Dick Englert. It would be terrific if Collins himself says he wants to break the recent run of coaches who have left the kids holding the bag and stay here for a long time but I don’t see that happening, either. The closest thing he has come to saying that is that he “tells the kids we love them” every day. If you love them, tell them you will never leave them and keep the promise.

These kids have been burned by Al Golden, Steve Addazio and Matt Rhule. It would nice for them to not be shuffled from foster parent to foster parent every few years.

KJ is right, though, the current path is not sustainable because inevitably Temple is going to swing and miss on hiring a head coach and that is going to lead to three-win seasons. Even the best ADs don’t hit homers with head coaching hires all the time. Once you’ve teased the fans with success, they don’t want to slide back.

The other great comment was from JoninOhio here:

jontwo

Jon’s points are terrific, too. Temple always seems to be on the precipice of building a great fan base, but a loss to Army before 35,000 Temple fans last year was a blow from a fan standpoint the team never recovered. That happens every season Temple suffers a disappointing upset loss. Two steps forward, one step back.

This year that can all change. A win over Notre Dame would open some eyes and be a huge step forward toward sustainability.  Remove that revolving door in the coach’s office at the E-O on top of that and away we go.

Friday: A Cracker Jack Surprise

Fizzy’s Corner: The Cosby Trial

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Editor’s Note: Dave “Fizzy” Weinraub, a friend of Temple Football Forever and former teammate of Bill Cosby, was featured in a story in the Washington Informer. The story follows below: 

The Temple University community — both current students and faculty and its proud alumni — have largely remained silent as Bill Cosby, the school’s onetime favorite son, faces sexual assault charges.

However, on the outset of Monday’s trial in which the iconic comedian could face 10 years in prison, one of the university’s stronger voices has emerged.

David Weinraub, a Temple graduate who spent more than 30 years as a teacher, dean and high school principal, has challenged others to “review the evidence” against Cosby, who attended Temple and served 32 years on the university’s board of trustees.

Weinraub, who has closely followed the accusations of dozens by women who claim Cosby assaulted them, has put together a compelling argument, presented as if he were a lawyer, and asks students of a fictional law school to determine Cosby’s guilt or innocence.

“I’ve been following it from the beginning and saw the obvious time constraints with the statute of limitations in the case and I saw where a district attorney candidate ran on the Cosby issue,” said Weinraub, who now lives in New Jersey.

His “assignment” details the case through facts not always as widely reported as the allegations.

“Once the accusations were made public, many women came forth to say they too, had been molested by [Cosby],” Weinraub said. “Many of their stories had the same theme: they were thrilled to have this famous man show interest, and accompanied him to his digs where he surreptitiously slipped a drug in their drink. Later, they woke to find their clothes in disarray, and various forms of evidence suggesting some kind of sexual activity had taken place.”

None of the women came forward with a complaint within the legal time limit except for former Temple employee Andrea Constand. However, after prosecutors originally reviewed the evidence, it was determined that there wasn’t enough to convict Cosby, so Constand filed a civil suit seeking damages, Weinraub noted.

“The basis of her case was that on one of the many occasions she had visited Cosby, she was given a pill,” Weinraub wrote in the dissertation to students whom he’s asked to determine the outcome of the case. “When the drowsiness wore off, she looked down and saw that Cosby had his hand in her pants.

“She did not say that anything else had occurred, only that she saw his hand in her pants,” he wrote. “Cosby said the pill and any activity was consensual. She said it was not.”

Given the he-said-she-said testimony in such cases, prosecutors struck a deal with Cosby for him to tell his side of the story and that it would remain sealed, Weinraub said.

Also, a deal between Cosby and Constand was reached but years later, a new prosecutor stepped in and filed charges anyway despite the former prosecutor agreeing not to seek prosecution.

The new prosecutor wanted to bring in the previously sealed testimony made by Cosby in the civil suit, Weinraub said.

“After hearing the testimony of the old prosecutor who said he had indeed, made the deal, the presiding judge said in effect, ‘tough darts,’” he said, pointing out how Cosby’s private words could now be shared with a jury in a criminal trial and that the judge who allowed the testimony did so knowing that Constand’s claims could not be substantiated.

In his direction to the law students, Weinraub asked that they also consider Cosby’s request for a change of venue.

In summation, Weinraub said the only charge to be considered is that Cosby gave Constand a pill and placed his hand in her pants, all without permission.

“There is no other charge here,” he argued.
“You’ve heard firsthand from this woman, she did not acquiesce to take a pill from Cosby, nor did she want him to put his hand in her pants. Cosby’s testimony from the civil trail says he offered a portion of a pill and she accepted. At no time did she say no.”

Weinraub noted that Constand voluntarily came to Cosby’s house on several occasions and even returned after the alleged incident.

There was no immediate complaint of any sort until much later, when her mother got involved, he said.

“Then, after the prosecutor decided he couldn’t win a criminal case, the mother and daughter decided to sue in civil court … during the civil case, they made a deal, accepted money, and that was that until this new prosecutor searching for an issue that could help him win an election, said he would bring criminal charges against Cosby,” Weinraub said.

“She didn’t say he raped her,” he said. “She didn’t say he did anything else indecent. All she said was he put his hand in her pants without her permission, and that’s after cozying up on the couch with him for quite a time. There’s no proof here, only innuendo from a woman who took his money and then went back on her word.

“Why was she even there?” Weinraub said. “Why didn’t she leave? Innuendo is not proof. After all the times she voluntarily visited Cosby, and even instigated some of those visits, are you going to send a man to prison on her word alone? Are you going to send a man to prison because this woman said he had his hand in her pants?”

Weinraub asked his students to place themselves in the position of the presiding judge and present a verdict and rationale for it.

When asked what would be his verdict, Weinraub said, “Not guilty.”

Attempts to reach Montgomery County District Attorney Richard Steele and Constand’s attorney were unsuccessful. Temple officials had no comment.

Monday: Too Soon

Wednesday: Sustainability 

Friday: Cracker Jack Game Managing

Monday (6/19): Birthday Wishes

Wednesday (6/21): Five ADs Pat Kraft Should Call

Timing Is Everything

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Any Temple football fan since the days of the MAC knows that planning ahead can be a tricky thing.

You set aside the day for the home games and hope you can get to at least some of the nearby games.

You very rarely know more than a few weeks, sometimes a few days, what the exact kickoff times will be.

Such is life in the television-dominated world of college football these days.

Something different happened this season, though.

Temple fans now know the kickoff times and the days for many of the games and that can be a good thing.

Of course, the most important game time is the one on Sept. 2 at Notre Dame, perhaps the highest-profile remaining game on the TU sked until 2024. That game will start at 3:30 on NBC and probably be on in every bar and tavern in the country.

Three-thirty is perhaps the best time for a home Temple game and the Owls lucked out by hosting Villanova on 3:30 on Sept. 9. That game will not be on over-the-air television in Philadelphia, which is probably a good thing because that means there will be more fannies in the seats than usual. If the Owls don’t get at least 35,000 for this one it will be a major disappointment considering they drew 34,000 for the home opener against Army last year.

On Sept. 15, the Owls host UMass on ESPNU at 7 p.m. The less said about that game the better.

On September 21, the Owls travel to hot Tampa for a 7:30 (or 8) ESPN game. Probably best for them that game is not being played in the daytime.

Another time etched in zone is the revenge match against Army, high noon, on Oct. 21. That game will be on CBS Sports Network. Owls also host Navy in another revenge match (for them) on Nov. 2 on ESPN. That is either a 7:30 or 8 p.m. start.

The final known starting time is the Nov. 10 game at Cincinnati, 7 p.m., on ESPN2.

Still unknown are the times of games against Houston, East Carolina, UConn, UCF and Tulsa but winning the AAC championship certainly seems to have put the Owls in a position where a lot of their game times are already known.

You could not say the same thing this time last year.

The Lineup

Sept 2 @Notre Dame 3:30 NBC
Sept 9 Villanova 3:30 ESPN3
Sept 15 Umass 7:00 ESPNU
Sept 21 @USF 7:30/8 ESPN
Oct 21 @Army 12:00 CBSSN
Nov 2 Navy 7:30/8 ESPN
Nov 10 @Cincinnati 7:00 ESPN2
Houston @East Carolina Uconn UCF @ Tulsa TBD

Wednesday: Sweet Home Recruiting

5 Questions Dr. Kraft Should Answer

Cherry and White Day is high noon on Saturday at the Edberg-Olson Complex.

The day means different things to many people, but mostly it is a gathering of fans and friends who have not had the opportunity to meet in months all over the shared passion that is Temple football.

It also has been another thing in recent years and that is running into people who are plugged into what the university is thinking, like Dr. Patrick Kraft, the athletic director, and DIck Englert, the school’s president.

Both are approachable and friendly and both TRY to answer fans’ questions honestly.

Cherry and White Day would be a good time to get answers from them, particularly Dr. Kraft, on these five questions:

best

Why is C and W Still at the E-O?

With the opening of the sports complex four blocks south that includes a 2,000-seat soccer stadium, why cram 5,000 fans into a 500-seat hole anymore? South Florida has proved for the last two seasons that you can hold a spring game in a soccer facility and Temple should do the same. Two thousand seats plus the 500 portable seats the school brings to the E-O every year should make everyone comfortable. There is a field hockey game at 1 on the adjacent field but the soccer stadium is open. It should have been used this year and certainly should be used next season.

nonew

How close are we to an announcement on the stadium?

We’ve been hearing behind the scenes that all systems are go on the new stadium, but there have been mixed messages. Moody Nolan, the architect, has been quoted as saying that the stadium is on hold. Is it? Or have the reassurances that everything is a go are meant to keep the private donations flowing? Why can’t the university set a date to make an announcement one way or another? It is time to bleep or get off the pot.

artwork

What’s the holdup?

We’re aware that the city certainly is an obstacle, as are the 20 or so people from the community who seem to come out to Stadium Stompers’ meetings. Why hasn’t the school approached City Council with even an initial proposal?

When Will the Revolving Door Be Replaced?

The doors to the Edberg-Olson Complex seem to open in a normal fashion. You pull them open and hold them open for the women and the older fans to enter. Around the head coach’s office is a revolving door, and has been since 2010. What is the university doing to assure fans and recruits that the new coach they hire one year isn’t going to leave the next?

Was the subject of coaching stability ever brought up in the Geoff Collins’ interview?

Or was it conveniently ignored like the Elephant in the Room? Inquiring minds need to know and there would be no better day to know at least some of these things than Cherry and White Day.

Wednesday: 5 Football Things To Look For

Friday: What They Are Saying ….

Monday: Complete Cherry and White Review

QB Departure Might Offer Clue for Leader

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             Logan Marchi is getting more reps with the ones.

In a program as large as Temple’s, there are all sorts of comings and goings even in the best of times.

The Owls are the right fit for most, but they can’t be the right fit for everyone.

That’s why last week’s five-quarterback race is now down to a four-person one with the departure of Overbrook (N.J.’s) Tommy Wyatt.

Although there is no official depth chart, we’ve been told from reliable sources that Wyatt was the fifth quarterback. In a case like that, reading that handwriting on the wall is an important skill and Wyatt’s transfer to Rutgers probably was the best move for all parties.

Right now, the battle for the starting position seems to be between three players—Anthony Russo, Logan Marchi and Frank Nutile—and true freshman Todd Centeio probably could benefit from a redshirt year, which he is likely to get.

Although media members are allowed to only see the final 10 minutes of practice, leaks from others who do see the entire practice say that Marchi is getting most of the reps now. Unless that changes, he is on a straight-line path to be the starter at Notre Dame.

It might be reading too much into the situation, but that appears to be the direction Patenaude is headed this spring.

We won’t know for sure until Cherry and White Day, but my guess is that Marchi will be quarterbacking one team and Russo the other and, if one guy separates  himself that day, the sooner the starter will be named.

If it’s a photo finish, then the issue won’t be decided until the summer.

Friday: Cherry Flags

Monday: Red Flags

Wednesday: Playing Poker