Monday, October 31, 2011

Former Pa. Gov. lobbying for TU in BE

Ed Rendell introduces Hillary Clinton at Temple University.

We'll have a complete preview on the Temple vs. Ohio game tomorrow (which is really the only important thing to me right now) but I thought I'd use Monday to share some good news.
Former two-term Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell came out solidly behind Temple's all-sports inclusion into the Big East Conference in a very big way today with an appearance on WIP Sports Radio (94.1FM and 610AM).
The Villanova Law grad also lectured his "other" alma mater on obstruction and really ripped them a new asshole, for want of a better term.
Since all of the Big East presidents are in town for the next two days, we assume this has gotten around and hopefully they will take Rendell's advice to heart.
Place cursor over the gray area and advance it forward to the 5:25 mark.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Brown's punch recalls NCAA champ Klecko

Classic coach Hardin quote at the 1:19 mark.

If a day without Temple football is a day without sunshine, we'd have cloudy days about 353 days a year and no sunshine at least six days a week during the football season.
Still, today's cloudy and rainy (and later, snowy) weather is a metaphor for how I'm feeling without Temple football on a Saturday in the fall.
It's pretty gloomy, made all the more dull by the fact that I have to sit on the egg the Owls laid in Bowling Green last week for nine long days.
If I'm feeling this way, I can't even imagine how hard it is for the kids who have to strap on the helmets at the E-O.
Steve Caputo's father was fond of yelling out "THAT'S TEMPLE FOOTBALL RIGHT THERE"  in his booming voice a few rows behind me when someone made a big play over the last couple of years.
When you let a team hang on the ropes
 for this long, a lucky punch can beat you.
Photo courtesy of Toledo Blade.
Sadly, I don't know what that was last week but that wasn't Temple football right there.
Not even close.
There were moments, though, and Matty Brown's punch (legal, of course) was one of the rare highlights of the day to me.
Heck, it might have been the highlight of the season if I didn't have to associate it with a loss.
Brown combined a straight arm with a simultaneous punch of a BGSU defensive back and picked up an additional 12 yards during a long run that set up Bernard Pierce's touchdown.
I haven't seen a Temple player punch like that since Joe Klecko.
Many of you know who Joe Klecko was, a great All-American tackle at TU in the 1970s who later became the most famous member of the New York Jets' sack exchange.
Not many of you, though, know that Klecko was the two-time NCAA heavyweight boxing champion in 1974 and 1975.
Yes, back then the NCAA offered boxing on a club level and Klecko took it up as something to do between the end of football season and spring practice.
He messed around and became NCAA champion. The fights were three rounds and Klecko had to wear head gear, but he knocked out everyone in a "field of 64" tournament on the way to the title. Klecko was unbeaten in the postseason, with his only two losses coming to a boxer named Bruce Blair during the regular season as he made the transition from football legs to boxing legs. His collegiate record was 25-2.
The NCAA no longer offers the sport, even on a club level.
I've got to believe, after seeing what I saw last Saturday, if the NCAA brings it back we've got a lightweight champion on our hands in the 5-7, 150-pound Brown.
I hope the entire team takes Brown's fighting spirit back to Ohio on Wednesday night and comes away with a TKO.
After waiting this long to get back into the ring, they should be mad enough to throw their weight around. For guidance, all they have to do is look at the way Brown tosses his.
(Home team in CAPS; favorite with
points in parenthesis)
Central Michigan (8) 30, AKRON 14 _ I can't believe a team that beat Northern Illinois is 2-6. Akron has no such impressive win.
WESTERN MICHIGAN (11 1/2) 24, Ball State 10 _ Number is a little high, but Western has beaten Bowling Green, 45-21, and lost to Illinois, 23-20. Loss last week to Eastern Michigan was a head-scratcher.
Bowling Green (4) 21, KENT STATE 13 _ I can't believe this number is so low. Kent State's 400 fans aren't going to make enough noise to keep this any closer than a touchdown.
Buffalo 14, MIAMI of Ohio (5) 10 _ Upset special. Buffalo is trending upward. Miami only beat Kent State, 9-3, and then lost to Toledo, 49-28.
Rutgers is getting seven points against visiting West Virginia and should cover that; Louisville is giving three points to visiting Syracuse and should cover that; visiting Western Kentucky is getting six points at Louisiana-Monroe even though the Hilltoppers have won three straight so I like Western to come away with the upset there and cover.
Season (SU) 43-24; Season (ATS): 24-33.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

MAC Blogger Roundtable: Week 9

Graphic by Bull Run's Tim Riordan

If you were wondering why my post "Shallow Hal" remained up on the screen for a few days, it's because I'm just coming out of a 72-hour Chester Stewart-induced stupor.
On Saturday night, I just sat at the computer staring at the screen for 27 minutes (yeah, I checked the computer clock) after Temple's 13-10 loss to Bowling Green.
This was me after watching Chester  Stewart
take a sack on the game's final play Saturday.
I felt like the late Jack Buck.
I kept repeating to myself .... I ... can't ... believe ... what ... I ... just ... saw.
The perfect metaphor for the day was Stewart taking a sack on the game's final play. I went back and watched that play three times. It was obvious that he knew the guy was coming at him. He had only one choice: Throw the ball downfield and hope Rod Streater comes down with a miracle catch. Taking a sack wasn't an option.
Instead, he took a sack and the clock ran out.
Why did he take a sack?
Just another chapter in a book on situational unawareness that Chester could write about his four years at Temple.
I've been jarred back into reality by this week's deadline: MAC Blogger Roundtable, Week 9.
This week, it's our good internet friend (as opposed to real friend), Tim Riordan of the great Buffalo blog: Bull Run. You should take a look at his site. It's a beautiful thing. If I had only one-tenth of the html skills as Tim and my real friend, Dave Gerson, I'd be a happy man.
This week's questions:

1) Parity, a good thing or a bad thing. Outside of Toledo at the top and Akron, Kent, Miami, and Buffalo at the bottom every team has looked about equal. Is this a good thing for the conference or would it be better to have just four very prominent teams.
TFF: I'm a big fan of the NFL, so I love parity. Heck, I loved it when the Giants beat the unbeaten Patriots. That said, I'd love to see Temple go unbeaten just once before I pass on to the great unknown. I think it's a good thing for the conference, but a bad thing for my imaginary wallet (I don't have money to bet) since I've been taking a beating predicting MAC games.
2) Coaches Hot Seat. The Following MAC coaches are showing up on the ever popular coaches hot seat list. Pick one and tell us why is it or is not fair to have them there (disclaimer Clawson is on the list but I can't imagine why so I am leaving him off)

(12) Rob Ianello, Akron
(13) Jeff Quinn, Buffalo
(15) Dan Enos, Central Michigan

TFF: Enos doesn't deserve to be there. Central Michigan has done some good things.

3) Best new hire. Of the four(?) new coaches in the conference who, at this point, seems to be the best hire.

TFF: Steve Addazio. I love the guy. I love the way he competes. I love the staff he's put together. I love what he's done despite the fact that Golden's Achilles Heel was his inability to recruit a quarterback. I will go from loving him to liking him if he loses to Ohio. If he loses to Ohio and Miami, I will go from liking him to tolerating him. If he loses to Ohio, Miami and Army, I will go from tolerating him to loathing him.

4) Ron English is flying high and the EMU *EAGLES* might be going to their first Bowl if they take care of Business. Surely their Coach is going to start getting some looks from other programs (if you can win at EMU right!). Is Turner Gill's experience in Kansas a cautionary tale to schools who look for that one new up and coming coach? How many years of winning should a mid-major coach put forth before a big time program drops millions on them.
TFF: I would think a three-year sample is better than a one-year wonder. I think that's the way most BCS programs will approach it going forward. The fact that Ron English recruited Ryan Brumfield shows me he has a keen eye for talent.
5) We all know the MAC does not necessarily award Bowls to the best teams. In MAC contracted bowls the bowl committees, not the conferee, get to pick their representative. Assume the MAC is going to get four Bowls but there are five bowl eligible teams. Make a case for your team, or a team you think is likely to be that 5th wheel.
TFF: I think Temple's case was solidified by a 38-7 win at Maryland that could have EASILY been 45-0. Addazio took three knees on the Maryland 1 to end the game after putting his third-team defense in on the prior series, allowing Maryland to score. Addazio has been Mr. Nice Guy, maybe to his detriment. He's had three backup quarterbacks play in shutout wins without any of them throwing the ball. One of those guys is going to have to throw the ball soon.
6) It's looking more and more like either (a) Temple won't be going to the Big East or (b) there won't be a big east football space to even invite Temple. Is the MAC, even with UMass and Temple, a stable football conference for the next year or two?
TFF: I think the MAC is stable, with or without Temple or UMass. I don't think UMass is going anywhere.
7) Rank'em
Western Michigan

Northern Illinois
Eastern Michigan
Bowling Green
Central Michigan
Ball State
Kent State

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Shallow Owl

Why do 100,000 Owl fans see one and two head coaches see another?
Every time I watch Chester Stewart drop back to pass, and I've been doing a lot of that over the last four years, I think of the 2001 movie Shallow Hal.
In it, Jack Black can look at a 500-pound woman (played by a guy in a fat suit, presumably) and see only Gweneth Paltrow.
So far, we've had two coaching staffs fall in love with Chester.
One, led by Al Golden, was hit over the head during the first quarter of last year's Bowling Green game after a pick six and pulled Chester in favor of Mike Gerardi.
Stewart never saw the field again in 2010.
When I watch Chester, I see poor mechanics, terrible reads on the option, a penchant for holding onto the ball way too long, no touch on deep throws, blinders for field vision and not a whole lot of mobility. Any quarterback worth his Lee Saltz has to know whether or not he's behind or in front of the sticks.

The second, led by Steve Addazio, has yet to pull the plug. Maybe if Chester had tossed that pick 6 in the first quarter, the Owls might have recovered to be 4-1 in the MAC East, instead of 3-2.
Bowling Green 13, Temple 10.
What am I missing here?
I'm sure he's a nice kid with a great personality and might look like a combination of Brett Favre, Randall Cunningham and Tom Brady at the Edberg-Olson Complex for six days of the week, but I feel like Jason Alexander.
I'm not seeing the beauty on game day. I have not for four years.
Alexander played the friend of Jack Black, who spent most of the two hours shrugging his shoulder and trying to knock some sense into him.
When I watch Chester, I see poor mechanics, terrible reads on the option, a penchant for holding onto the ball way too long, no touch on deep throws, blinders for field vision and not a whole lot of mobility. Any quarterback worth his Lee Saltz has to know whether or not he's behind or in front of the sticks.
Other than that, he's beautiful.
Now Chester wasn't the ONLY reason Temple lost on Saturday.
Twelve penalties (to Bowling Green's two) certainly did not help.
(I thought A LOT of those penalties on Temple were questionable and my suspicions were only re-inforced when Bernard Pierce landed what seemed like five yards into the end zone via the air on his touchdown and the refs placed the ball at the one. Hmm. Wishful officiating, perhaps?)
Still, despite all of that, one cannot underestimate the psychological impact to the defense when the offense constantly goes three and out. That was the 10th-best defense in this year's MAC they were playing, not the 1985 Chicago Bears.
Moving the sticks on the field is on the quarterback, like it or not.
Fixing the problem and making the hard (or easy) decision off the field in this case is on the head coach.
Otherwise, we could all be seeing ugly.

How Ole Miss and Temple and interwiined today

Last year, I went on a wild goose chase in search of a Temple game that was listed on ESPN Game Plan, Direct TV (Channel 790).
I called a well-known sports, err, TV establishment and they said, "Sure, we have it. C'mon down."
So I made the 45-minute trip downtown and one of the kids got up on a chair, fiddled with a TV for 15 minutes and said, "Sorry, we don't have that channel."
Fox and Hound Center City assures me they will have that channel today.
A guy named Jason Paxson, the managing general partner, emailed me that confirmation yesterday.
For those of you who don't want to make the trip and are at home, the TV fates of Ole Miss and Temple are interwined today.
If you can get Arkansas and Ole Miss at noon (Direct TV, Channel 790), you will also be able to get Temple at Bowling Green at 3:30. Otherwise, you are stuck watching on computer (ESPN3). I hate watching on computer.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

MAC Blogger Roundtable: Week 8

With this many fans wearing Cherry, it's easy to see why Temple is so tough at home.
When Bowling Green opened the season with an impressive 32-15 win at Idaho (one of the few indoor campus stadiums in the nation), I thought this would be a tough week for the Temple football team.
It still might, but these are two teams going in different directions.
Temple is leaving the friendly confines of Lincoln Financial Field (above), where the Owls are 14-4 against MAC teams since joining the league.
Temple posted a couple of shutouts, both over teams that beat Ohio, presumably Temple's toughest opposition for the MAC East title.

Bowling Green has lost three straight.
In the MAC, though, that means little.
Someone who can tell you about that is Mike Breese, who runs the Red and Black Attack blog covering Northern Illinois football. The Huskies opened with a 49-26 win over Army (which beat Northwestern), but also gave up 48 points in a loss to Central Michigan. Now they are coming off 40-10 and 51-22 wins over Kent State and Western Michigan, respectively.
So anyone who takes anything for granted in this league gets beaten.
Hopefully, Temple learned that lesson from Toledo.
Breese throws out the questions this week:

1. Just when one team thinks they have a hold of the division, it seems like the next week they get upset by a seemingly lesser-talented surprise team. How do you explain the volatility in the MAC this year, with CMU beating NIU, then NIU beating WMU and EMU defeating CMU just this past week?

TFF: There's a lot of emotion involved in football. I've noticed a lot of the upsets come a week after a satisfying win. Maybe the work habits at practice are affected by that.

2. Going off of the last question, how emotionally involved are you with your respective team? Do you have your highs and lows or do you try and keep an even keel the entire season following your respective squad?

TFF: I get emotional only in rivalry games, like Villanova and Penn State. Villanova, because I know that school is trying its best to badmouth Temple at every opportunity. Penn State, because I know what a win over that program would have done for credibility in a pro market like Philadelphia. The rest of the season I'm on an even keel.

3. It seems like the MAC is past being a league where just offense prowess can win the league. Is that statement correct? Do you think your team has the right balance this season, or will one side of the ball have to carry the other the rest of the way?

TFF: I'm concerned about the offensive balance. Temple has a great running game, but the Owls have not demonstrated (yet) that you can trust the forward pass in a big spot, especially the deep routes.

4. If you could get a top recruit for one position on your team, which one would it be?
TFF: Quarterback.
TFF Rankings

Northern Illinois
Western Michigan
Central Michigan
Bowling Green
Ball State
Eastern Michigan
Kent State
This Week's Picks
(point spreads from Tuesday's USA Today)
CENTRAL FLORIDA (13 1/2) 31, Ala. Birmingham 17 _ Central Florida beat Boston College, 30-3, and came within a touchdown of beating BYU. UAB is 0-6.
Rutgers 14, LOUISVILLE (2) 10 _ Upset special. Gotta believe RU is better than its showing against Navy. Louisville has beaten only Murray State and Kentucky, neither impressively.
Temple (13 1/2) 24, BOWLING GREEN 13 _ Falcons score a touchdown against Steve Addazio's third-team defense late in the fourth quarter to cover the number. Hard to expect a third straight shutout against a team with a good QB.
Northern Illinois (14 1/2) 30, BUFFALO 14 _ Northern Illinois has looked very good the last two weeks and should cover the number.
Central Michigan 17, BALL STATE 14 (1 1/2) _ Upset special No. 2. Chips are an underdog. They win the game outright.
Western Michigan 33 (13), EASTERN MICHIGAN 17 _ Eastern Michigan stunned Central Michigan, 35-28, last week. I don't think that's sustainable over two weeks.
TOLEDO 44 (17 1/2), Miami (Ohio) 10 _ Despite Zac Dysert, Miami has had trouble scoring. Toledo hasn't.
Georgia Tech, a 2 1/2-point underdog, wins at Miami, 24-14; Wake Forest, a three-point favorite, covers the number in a 20-13 win at Duke; Houston, a home 20 1/2-point favorite, covers the high number vs. Marshall.
Last week SU: 5-3; ATS 2-7 (including the under in Miami's 9-3 win over Kent State)
Season SU: 40-18; ATS 26-31;

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

What should Temple do?

You've heard the phrase by now so many times that you might recognize it by its four-letter abbreviation:
What Would Jesus Do?
It's a reminder of a moral imperative on how to do the right thing.
"What would I do, Fr. Peter?
 State your  case, but  I certainly would not run down Temple
University. As Donovan McNabb said to T.O,
 keep their name out of your mouth.
I say welcome TU in with open arms.
That's what I would do."
Nobody at Villanova consulted that checklist before trying to run down Temple University for the last week on a Big East conference call. At the time, according to reports in the New York Post and the Boston Globe, Temple appeared to be a shoe-in for all-sports membership. Three days later, Temple was an afterthought. It was not hard to see why. Rather than promote its own name, Villanova _ according to well-placed sources _ spent the better part of three days on the conference call running down Temple.
It lined up opposition for Temple for all sports membership, mostly from its fellow WWJD schools, like Marquette, Providence, Seton Hall and St. John's.  The WWJD schools said, basically: "Well, you are against them joining in all sports. We're against them joining in basketball. Why don't we just conspire to keep them out altogether."
Villanova: "Err, yeah, OK."
So Villanova destroyed about a 100-year relationship with a fellow city institution to keep its tenuous spot in a tenuous conference.
(There's no maybes there. Villanova declared War on Temple with this Pearl Harbor sneak attack and Temple, in its righteous might, will gain the inevitable triumph so help it God. Apologies to FDR.)
Speaking of God, can you imagine Jesus getting on the phone and saying, "Don't let those chumps associate with us."
No, he'd welcome them with open arms.
The more important question now is: What Should Temple Do?
I listened to a lot of possibilities in that area both pre- and post-game on Saturday, ranging from holding a press conference lambasting them to canceling this year's basketball game and next year's football game to suing Villanova and the Big East.
All interesting suggestions from good, well-meaning, people.
It's a tough call either way, but I say Temple is doing the right thing by staying quiet and working behind the scenes, which I've been assured that it is.
Put it this way.
The chances of Temple football finishing the regular season 10-2 currently is a better than 50/50 shot.
If that happens, Temple becomes a national story.
There's no conference in the country that would not want a 10-2 team coming off consecutive 9-3 and 8-4 seasons.
There's no conference in the country that would not want the fourth-largest TV market in the country that offers a team with demonstrated and documented TV ratings success over a three-year period.
Villanova failed that test over the last seven days and I don't think even confession absolves them of that sin.
Temple is passing it right now.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

The defense never rests

Steve Addazio talks about the great Homecoming crowd and the continued support of the students, which I thought was both classy and appropriate.

Steve Addazio came up big
 on game day once again.
Someone said something very profound in Lot K after today's 34-0 win over Buffalo and it had nothing to do with Villanova, The Big East or exit fees.
"We should have five shutouts," the man said.
I'll call him Edgar, because that's his name.
Think about it for a second or two and you'll come to agree.
Villanova scored a bogus touchdown only because the officials kept flags in their pockets after an obvious intentional grounding.
Maryland scored a late meaningless touchdown against Temple's third-string defense.
If that's not enough evidence supporting my claim that Chuck Heater is far and away the best defensive coordinator in the country, I don't know what is.
Two things stood out for me today.
One, after Bernard Pierce had a touchdown called back on a totally made up block in the back call, Steve Addazio called a timeout just to berate the two officials and tell them just why the block was legal.
I liked that.
I liked that a lot.
Two, Addazio had the gonads to call the short snap call on fourth-and-two that resulted in Ahkeem Smith's touchdown run.
Great call, great execution.
I wondered if Al Golden would have done either thing.
I don't think he ever did.
Off to an alumni function and more tomorrow.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Homecoming Day is finally here

No words necessary in this video, although I wish I had the technical ability to dub in D.J. Khaled's "All I Do is Win" as background music. Watch the reaction of Matty Brown at the 39-second mark to Vaughn Carraway's big-time hit. Also love the "not again" comment during Chris Coyer's touchdown run.

We take a break from all of this Big East talk for a special announcement.
Homecoming Day has finally arrived.
Well, technically, it will be here tomorrow (1 p.m., Lincoln Financial Field) and the occasion provides a "laboratory-type" environment to test a couple of theories.
  1. Have the Owls learned anything from the Toledo loss?
  2. Will not being on television provide a boost to the attendance figures?
After the Toledo game, several players pointed to the "lackadaisical" attitude that followed the Maryland game, indicating that the Owls were "full of themselves" and that was the reason they got their heads handed to them.
Head coach Steve Addazio alluded to it as well, saying he would create an environment that would insure that he'd had a "pissed-off football team" taking the field at Ball State.
My picks this week:
MAC GAMES (home teams in Caps):
TEMPLE (+21) 24, Buffalo 10 _ Owls have a solid outing, but fail to cover the high number due to the intense 40 mph wind forecast.
Toledo (+7 1/2) 29, BOWLING GREEN 14 _ I realize it's a rivalry game, but the talent differential is too high and the number too low.
CENTRAL MICHIGAN (+13 1/2) 40, Eastern Michigan 20 _ Central Michigan seems to have gotten its act somewhat together after a big loss to Western Michigan.
Miami (Ohio, +4) 17, KENT STATE 10 _ Better bet is going under the 39 1/2 in this one.
Western Michigan (+1 1/2) 24, NORTHERN ILLINOIS 20 _ When in doubt, go with the better team. Broncos are clearly better this year.
OHIO (+14) 27, Ball State 10 _ Bobcats will be motivated coming off a loss at Buffalo.
NORTH CAROLINA (+3) 21, Miami (Fla.) 14 _ Phil Steele said he's picking Miami in this game because it is the "better-coached" team. He must have not attended a Temple game in awhile.
PENN STATE (+12) 40, Purdue 24 _ Is 5-1 Penn State going to win the Big 10. Geez, I hope so for Temple's sake.
RUTGERS (+4) 31, Navy 17 _ Mids are coming off a 63-35 loss at home to Southern Mississippi. Four points is a bargain.
Last week straight up: 6-2
Last week ATS: 3-5
Season SU: 35-17
Season ATS: 24-24.

That seemed to work.
Hopefully, Addazio duplicated the atmosphere this week.
If he went back to the post-Maryland practice routine, hopefully the Owls don't produce post-Maryland-type results.
I've never understood the word "letdown" as it relates to college football, though. Being a Division I college football player is a 365-day-a-year job. You invest that much time and get three hours a dozen or so times a year to show the fruits of that effort and you can't bring it 100 percent for that short period of time? Weak.
Since joining the MAC, Temple is 13-4 at home and it is time to re-establish that turf after dropping the last two MAC home games (Toledo this year, Ohio last).
As far as the TV, my theory as it relates to Temple fans is that every time Temple is on local television it costs the uni 5K-10K at the gate. We have a "hardcore" fan base who will show up anytime (like me) but unfortunately we have a much too large "softcore" fan base that is great for TV ratings but is far too lazy to push away the remote, chips and dip and get off the couch and into the car for the short trip to the stadium on TV days. You see this group a lot on days when games aren't on TV. They are usually heavy-set, big-boned, people you see at the tailgates only once or twice a year (setting themselves apart from us heavy-set, big-boned, people you see every week).
Last year, the Homecoming opponent was Bowling Green, a cellar-dweller at the time, and the Owls drew a solid 23K with no local TV.
Anything less than 25K tomorrow with the game not on TV would be an extreme disappointment.
Anything more would be a pleasant surprise.
I'm going for the over.
Heck, if it's under 23K, we really don't deserve to be in the Big East anyway. Our fans will vote with their feet.
No time better than the present for Temple fans to show the Big East specifically and the world in general that this is a market that will support Division IA college football.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Temple and the Big East

Waltter Washington was the last
Big East offensive player of year
from Temple. If the Owls are in
the Big East next year,
Bernard Pierce could be.
If  Temple football players are thinking the same thing Temple football fans have been thinking the last few days, you've got to like Buffalo's chances of upsetting the Owls on Saturday.
Fortunately, it doesn't work that way.
Or at least it is not supposed to work that way.
Over a three-day period, I received 14 emails from fans asking me what I thought about Temple going to the Big East and none (zero) about what I'm thinking about Saturday's Homecoming Day with  Buffalo.
That's a three-day record for Temple Football Forever emails.
My response to each one is that I'm not counting the chickens before they are hatched.
I know Villanova is doing its darndest to keep the Owls out. Since Pitt and Syracuse left largely BECAUSE Villanova was being considered as a football member, I can't see that the Big East would be dumb enough to listen to anything that comes out of Radnor

Yeah, it is an exciting prospect, no doubt.
I'm more focused on the MAC.
Long before Temple was ever in the MAC, I was a MAC football fan. Long after Temple football leaves the MAC, I will remain a MAC football fan. I love the teams and the schools and the fans.
Heck, in the middle of the newsroom while watching MAC football about 10 years ago on a Thursday night on ESPN, I exclaimed:
"MAC football, I love it," I said.
"I hear you, bro," one of my fellow sportswriters said.
MAC football on Thursday nights on ESPN was a staple to me.
You couldn't put on anything better than that, watching Big Ben play with Miami or some of those Northern Illinois teams (one that beat Alabama).
What I'm not a fan of is the way the conference is run.
I can't respect a conference that "rewards" its three best teams trips to Detroit, Boise and Mobile.
I can't respect a conference that is so impotent that it can't lobby behind the scenes to get an 8-4 team into some kind of at-large bowl.
The Big East, for all its perceived faults, has terrific bowl tie-ins and enough clout to get any 8-4 team into most bowls.
Since it hasn't "officially" happened (heck, it might have happened in the last five minutes for all I know), I'm not going to get excited about it. According to reports in two out-of-town newspapers, Villanova has been bad-mouthing Temple for three days of Big East conference calls, demanding that the Owls not get in for all sports. I know Villanova is doing its darndest to keep the Owls out. Since Pitt and Syracuse left largely BECAUSE Villanova was being considered as a football member, I can't see that the Big East would be dumb enough to listen to anything that comes out of Radnor.
Villanova's contribution to the conference call.
But Dumb with a Capital D has been the Big East's middle name for about a decade so I would not be surprised.
My guess is that Temple is already in because the Owls have upgraded their football program significantly and would bring both the highest profile basketball program and largest available market into the mix with documented TV ratings success in their portfolio.
Wake me up when the ink is dry, though.
What I'm going to do is get excited about the Homecoming Day game with Buffalo this Saturday, hopeful for a big crowd (that could not hurt the Big East prospects if the ink isn't dry by then) and focus on Temple beating Buffalo and winning the MAC.
We all know what happened the last time this team got full of themselves and unfocused. They got their heads handed to them by Toledo.
I don't want that happening again.
I have a feeling that's the message Steve Addazio is trying to drive home at The Edberg-Olson Football Complex.
Whether the team hears it or not, we should know by 4 p.m. on Saturday.
We'll know about the Big East soon enough.
I'm just glad I never ripped that Big East logo off the Temple football game jersey I'll be wearing on Saturday.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

MAC Blogger Roundtable Week 7

This week's MAC Blogger Roundtable questions come from Let's Go Rockets, the Toledo blog. His questions are in white, my answers are in yellow.

1.) This far into the season, what has been the single biggest disappointment from your respective team?
The lack of a sophisticated forward passing attack. Owls have had success with the short- and intermediate routes, but have struggled to throw the deep ball after some promising first couple of games in that area.

2.) If the first season to this point was replayed without any injuries or personnel loses to your squad, how different would your team’s position be at this point in the season? Would having everyone healthy and available drastically change where you sit now and the potential for the rest of the season?

I would say no different.  Penn State sold out to stop the run, leaving only a safety in the middle of the field and two corners and bunching the other eight players on the line of scrimmage. Temple's used two quarterbacks in that game and neither one had a good day. Still, it came to a close spot on a fourth-and-one play that allowed the Nits to win it with 2 minutes left.

3.) We predicted winners in each division and a MAC champion at the start of the season - based on what we’ve seen of the teams now, revise your picks for MAC East, MAC West, and MACC winners.

Toledo and Temple. Either UT or TU will win the overall title. Not enough info at this point to determine that outcome.
4.) Announcements are surfacing this week that the Peace Pipe will be discontinued as the trophy for the victor of the Toledo / BGSU rivalry, but the rivalry will be rebranded the “Battle for I-75” and include a new trophy. Speak about what the loss of tradition and traditional rivalries would mean to your team and whether a trophy/name change, for example, would diminish from the rivalry.
I think a rivalry should be determined by an inadamant object. For example, "The Old Shoe" or the "bucket" or something like that, not by an interstate. Maybe an Ipod. Temple's rival used to be Rutgers. Owls don't have a "real" rival now.

5.) Rank ‘em.
Western Michigan
Northern Illinois
Bowling Green
Central Michigan
Ball State
Eastern Michigan
Kent State

Monday, October 10, 2011

My two degrees of Raheem Brock separation

Nobody is "representing" TU better than Raheem Brock these days.

Full disclosure.
I've never met Raheem Brock, but I feel like I know the former Temple star very well.
I was a big fan of his when he played in college.
Brock had a big role in Seattle's win at the New York Giants on Sunday and, when he got back to Seattle, tweeted just three words:
"Landed in Seattle."
Brock sports EBB bowl jersey at
Super Bowl press conference.

I tweeted him back: "Congrats and thanks for representing Temple as usual."
Two seconds later, he send me back a tweet thanking me.
Heck, he did not need to do that but that's the kind of person he's become.
Nobody mentions Temple more than Raheem Brock. Nobody wears the Temple football gear in the locker room more than Raheem Brock.
Other people talk representing.
Raheem Brock lives it.
Brock's tweet got me to thinking about my "small world" story about him.
You hear about people saying it is a small world, but in a city of 2 million people this is a very freaky but true "small world" story.
When I was in college Zach Dixon, Raheem's biological father, was thumbing down Broad Street at 2 a.m. on a Saturday night/Sunday morning wearing a "Temple football" sweatshirt, standing pretty close to the Baker Bowl sign at Broad and Lehigh.
I thought  "geez, that's Zach Dixon" and I slammed on the breaks of my 1974 Opal Manta and gave him a ride back to the main campus.
(Heck, I didn't want to get our 1,000-yard rusher killed by the guy who might be coming behind me.)
Fast forward, ohh, 20-some years later and I'm jogging on Kelly Drive with wearing a sweet Temple football game jersey I picked up for $20 on Cherry and White Day.
Back then, in the middle of the Owl football Dark Ages,  no one wore Temple football game jerseys while jogging on Kelly Drive except me.
So I'm wearing this jersey and a nice man who was working with a road crew yells out:
"Hey, Temple football. My son plays there."
I had to stop, just like I did 20 years earlier.
"Really?" I ask. "Who is he?"
"Raheem Brock."
He didn't look like Dixon, but I had to ask.
"Are you Zach Dixon?"
"No, I'm his step dad."
"Raheem Brock is going to make you a millionaire some day, he's that good," I said.
He just laughed.
"I hope so."
"I know so," I said. "It was great meeting you" and I continued my jog northbound toward the  Ulysses S. Grant statue.
Two degrees of Raheem Brock separation about 20 years apart.
The bloodlines continue at Temple today. Dixon's son, Hassan, is on the team.
If the genes are any clue, he will represent Temple very well.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

The Final Word on Ball State: OUTFREAKINGSTANDING!

OK, out-freaking-standing is a hyphenated word but that was my one-word reaction watching Temple dismantle Ball State, 42-0, while sitting in a Panera Bread in Montgomeryville and getting free wireless internet.
Outfreakingstanding was not my reaction to the broken feed from the MAC corporate offices.
I missed the first two touchdowns completely while looking at a black screen that said something like "feed broken."
Yeah, I knew that.
I also missed a nice pass to Rod Streater that set up one touchdown.
I felt bad for the kid with the hot brunette and the "Wild Cherry" T-Shirt looking over my shoulder at the black screen. Then I realized he had a hot brunette and I didn't feel so bad for him. I told him the score was 14-0 Temple.
Steve Addazio: Pissed-off Owls
"Aww right," he said.
They left shortly after that.
(Panera Bread is a great date place.)
Back to the game.
All week long, Temple coach Steve Addazio said that he would make things hard on the Owls because he wanted "one pissed-off team" to be playing on Saturday in Muncie.
If so, I want Addazio to do the same thing this week, the same thing next and the same thing the rest of the season.
The Owls played pissed off against Maryland and full of themselves against Toledo and it is obvious that they play a lot better pissed off.
So Daz, you have my permission (and probably those of my fellow Owl fans) to do whatever is necessary to keep pissing them off.
Some other observations:
Great job, Chester Stewart

QUARTERBACKING _ Great job by Chester Stewart. All Chester has to do is complete some downfield passes, hand the ball off to the running backs and protect the football for the Owls to run the table. Chester's most impressive job was ball security. With this defense and this running game, ball security is vital. No interceptions. No fumbles. This game also represents the first time since I've been covering Temple football (30-plus years) that four (4) quarterbacks saw time. It looks like now second-teamer Chris Coyer is averaging 72 yards per carry, probably the highest ypc in all of NCAA football. Two carries and two LONG touchdowns. Nice.
The Franchise showed BSU what PSU already knows.
RUSHING GAME _ Bernard Pierce scored three touchdowns, ran 30 times for 121 yards and broke Paul Palmer's career touchdown record (39) with his 39th, 40th and 41st career touchdowns. The stat of note now is that when Pierce carries the ball 25 times or more Temple is 15-0. Plus, Matty Brown added 114 yards including the highlight reel run of the season so far.
DEFENSE _ After giving up 36 points (mostly not their fault), people got on me about not giving the defense grief. I wrote that much of the defense's problems last week stemmed from the two fumbles and the two interceptions and the multiple three-and-outs. I ended my summation with the phrase "in Heater I trust" and Chuck Heater and his fire-eaters came through once again. Too many of those guys played well to mention two or three. They are a group of gang-tacklers and that's what I love second most about them. First most? Putting the quarterback on his ass, which I've said for years is the best pass defense ever designed by man.
Morry Mannies
BROADCAST _  Morry Mannies, the  Ball State play-by-play guy, must be old. He first called Mike Gerardi "Mark Carchitti" and then called him "Mike Carchardi." Ugh. He also mis-pronounced many other Owl names. His sidekick said his record broadcasting Homecoming Games was "40-17." That's right. Forty and 17, a number that was repeated three times. Forty and 17 is 57. If this guy started out at 21, he's at least 78. And I thought Harry Donahue was old. So if this guy is over 80, I've got to cut him some slack. He also said he sat through a 66-0 loss to St. Joseph's. I assume that's St. Joseph's of Indiana. I'll have to tell him someday that I sat through a 76-0 loss to Pitt once.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Addazio goes for the Golden Hat Trick

Al Golden took his 0-14 record in the MAC south of the (Mason-Dixon) border.

With the Phillies finally done and the Eagles at 1-3 and no NBA and NHL not meaning squat until April, Temple football finally forges its way front and center into the consciousness of Philadelphia sports fans
The Golden Sombrero is a term loosely credited to ESPN announcer Chris Berman for describing a guy who goes 0 for 4 in baseball with four strikeouts.
It was a supposed to be a takeoff on the term "hat trick" when someone scores three goals in a game but does something ignominious instead.
So when The Golden Sombrero fits, wear it.
Today, first-year Temple coach Steve Addazio doesn't go for the Golden Sombrero but the Golden Hat Trick.
Or, more precisely, The Al Golden Hat Trick.
Golden was not able to blow out Villanova.
Addazio was.
Golden was not able to beat an ACC team.
Addazio was.
If Addazio beats 3-2 Ball State today (2 p.m.. in Muncie, Ind.), Addazio will stop an ignominious Golden run of 0-14 against winning MAC teams. If Addazio (and Temple, of course) beats Ball State today, he will be 1-0 against winning MAC teams vs. Golden's 0-14. That's if Ball State finishes with a winning record, of course. (Before you get on me about Toledo, the Rockets were 1-3 coming into the Temple game.)
Can't put the check mark next to that one yet, because it hasn't happened for Addazio yet but that's a mark that will haunt Golden the rest of his life.
Think about it.

Golden recruited four straight No. 1-ranked recruiting classes in the MAC with one No. 2 and could never beat a winning MAC team.
I've got to make only one conclusion from that: Poor game day coaching.
So good game day coaching is the way to end that streak.
That means hand the ball off to The Franchise (Bernard Pierce) and not strictly off-tackle like Addazio did last week. Get the ball in space to a great football player who messed around one spring with track and became a world-class sprinter in his spare time. It also means finding someone who can take advantage of the pressure Pierce puts on defenses by being able to complete a simple forward pass 20 yards or more  downfield.
Do that and keep the defense off the field. Keep the defense off the field and it will produce the times it is needed on the field.
This could be the start of a good Temple football run.
With the Phillies finally done and the Eagles at 1-3 and no NBA and NHL not meaning squat until April, Temple football finally forges its way front and center into the consciousness of Philadelphia sports fans.
Hey, I can dream, can't I?
I was doing a lot of dreaming until seven days ago when Toledo's football team woke me rather rudely from a dopamine-induced slumber.
All week after the 38-7 win over Maryland, I was kicking myself.
"Geez, we're going to go 11-1 now and not being able to stop Penn State on a fourth-and-one is going to cost us a shot at the national championship. Could you imagine Temple winning the national championship? Temple? How great would that be?"
If allowed myself that thought one time last week, it must have been 100 times I repeated it in my head.
I thought Penn State was far and away the best team on the schedule and Maryland was a close second.
Logically, Temple could have run the table.
Logic and sports don't always mix, though.
Ask the Phillies who, on Sept. 10, had a 94-48 record, the same day the Cardinals had a 78-67 record.
Or ask Al Golden about all those No. 1 recruiting classes adding up to an 0-14 record.
That did not compute, either.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

MAC Blogger Roundtable: Week 6

Our MAC blogger host this week is Alan Rucker of the excellent Ball State blog, Over The Pylon (OTP).
Alan did not want Steve Addazio as the Ball State coach  when that rumor popped up in December. Instead, he got former Lehigh coach Pete Lembo.
Addazio, I think, takes a little more talent into Muncie, Ind. to face Lembo so Saturday's game (2 p.m.) provides a labratory to test Alan's theory that Addazio would have been a bad choice for Ball State. If Lembo can be able to take his 'ums and beat Addazio's ums, that's a pretty strong argument in his favor.
What follows below is his questions and my responses:

1.) Now that the nonconference has wrapped up for most everyone and we turn our eyes toward conference play, what did the nonconference season teach you? More importantly, what teams do you see as frontrunners thanks to their nonconference play? Any surprises?
TFF: The surprise to me is Western Michigan. Bill Cubit does a great job there. Losing at Illinois by a field goal and winning at UConn were eye-openers in addition to a 44-14 clocking of Central Michigan. WMU is going to be in the race to the end, as is Toledo. Ohio beat Marshall, 44-7, but was able to only beat Kent State by 17-10 so I think the East is wide open.
2.) It's obviously early to be thinking about bowls, but what teams do you see going bowling? More importantly, will there be a MAC team that will surprise folks come bowl season? Where do you hope your team ends up bowling?
TFF: Western Michigan, Toledo and Temple. I hope my team goes bowling in a place not named Detroit or Boise.
3.) Again, it's early, but are there any coaches on the hotseat that should be working their resume? Any MAC coaches you see moving on to greener pastures come season's end?
I would think an Akron coach is wishing he was back as a BCS assistant. I don't see why Cubit never got a chance at a BCS program.

4.) With all the talk of conference expansion and the assumption that WVU or Missou is the next to switch conferences, what do you see happening to the MAC? Any teams living? Where to? If teams vacate, how should the MAC respond?
TFF: I think the MAC should lock up the teams within its footprint, like Memphis and Marshall. UMass is just not going to work out, playing games in a pro stadium 100 miles away from the main campus. Temple plays in a pro stadium, but only four miles away from the main campus.
5.) While football is a team game, sometimes it's about individual efforts. Who has had the most impact individually for your squad? Sort of the same line of thinking, but contingent on your own needs and roster, what other MAC player would you like to switch out for one of your own?
TFF: I'll take the Miami quarterback, Zac Dysert, for a player to be named later.
6.) Power poll time, baby. First to worst... rank 'em

Western Michigan
Northern Illinois
Bowling Green
Central Michigan
Ball State
Eastern Michigan
First the good news. We got seven out of nine games right, straight up homey. ATS, not so good. Three out of six. Buffalo screwed us losing by 31 (the spread was 29). Our only two losses straight up were Temple and Northern Illinois. We did get our one upset special correct. Rutgers was a three-point underdog and we picked RU to both win and cover.
Straight up
Last week: 7-2
Season 29-15
Against the spread:
Last week: 3-6
Season: 21-19
THIS WEEK (point spreads are from Monday's Daily News):
(team in caps is picked to cover the spread)
ARMY (pick) at Miami (Ohio) _ Bookies made this an even game. This is a very tough one. I will pick the Cadets because they've had some success, beating Northwestern of the Big 10 and hammering Tulane. But I would not bet this game to save my life.
Temple at BALL STATE (10 1/2) _ I don't see Chester Stewart turning the scoreboard into an adding machine, so I'm picking Ball State to cover the double-digits and Temple to win something like a 14-10, 13-10 game. Of course, if Mike Gerardi comes in there and throws a couple of deep balls to open things up for Bernard Pierce underneath, this could be a 29-13 game. I'm thinking Daz is not inclinced to pull the trigger, as Al Golden was, so this game will be closer than it should.
WESTERN MICHIGAN (11) vs. Bowling Green _ Cubit has this team playing too well right now. WMU, 31-10.
FIU (20) at Akron _ Florida International beat Louisville and Central Florida and should have no trouble covering the 20 spot vs. the Zips. FIU, 30-7.
Eastern Michigan at TOLEDO (20) _Rockets could put up 34 or more. I don't see EMU putting up more than 10. Toledo, 35-10.
CENTRAL MICHIGAN at North Carolina State (12 1/2) _ My upset special No. 1 this week. NC State is the most unimpressive 2-3 team in the land, with wins over Liberty and South Alabama. Chips win this game outright, 20-13 and cover the 12 1/2.
KENT STATE at Northern Illinois (17) _ After coming off a strong performance in a 17-10 loss to Ohio, I see Kent State getting a little better with the number being slightly high. Northern Illinois, 31-20.
OHIO (7 1/2) at Buffalo _ Bobcats have no trouble covering the 7 1/2, winning, 27-14.
I like to go for value when I look outside the MAC and I think Maryland getting 14 1/2 at Georgia Tech is a tremendous value. First of all, Maryland's value was skewed by a loss to Temple but it still hung tough with West Virginia and beat Miami (Fla.). Also, Ga. Tech only beat a bad North Carolina State team by 10. Georgia Tech wins this game but by only 31-24.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

It's time to forget the Big East

BSU did something this year a TU team hasn't done since 1990: Beat a Big 10 team.

I did not go to Harvard, but at least I went to the place my professor, Norm Kaner, called "Harvard on The Delaware."
Kaner taught a course at Temple called "Sports in American Society." It was a cake elective. A football player sat beside me, in front of me and to the left of me.
When I heard the greatest kickoff returner in the United States, James Nixon, flunked out of school this summer, I wish he knew about Kaner's Sports in America course. With that course and Basket Weaving 101, he'd still be here.
Mike Gerardi threw a nice deep ball against Villanova and Akron, but he seems like a forgotten man now and I don't know why

Despite the easy elective, Professor Kaner was a very smart man. While most (err, many) of my fellow Temple fans have spent the past few weeks gnashing their teeth over whether or not the Owls will be invited into the Big East, I used my Harvard on the Delaware education to figure something out this week.
Simply, the clear message is forget the Big East.
Don't get me wrong.
It would be nice to be wanted, but that's not the most important thing right now.
The most important thing right now is beating Ball State, not going to the Big East, not winning the MAC, not even becoming the "Boise State of the East" but beating Ball State.
Beat Ball State and it becomes possible to win the MAC and win the MAC and it becomes possible to expand horizons beyond the MAC.
Lose to Ball State and the wheels come off the Temple bandwagon very fast. With one MAC loss already, it's going to be difficult if not impossible to win the MAC East with two losses. This fragile fan base will collapse, too.
None of this is going to be easy, starting Saturday (2 p.m.) in Muncie, Ind.
Before Temple played Toledo, I thought the Owls really had a chance to be the "Boise State of the East."
Then I saw the difference between Temple and Boise State was as big as the gap between the abilities of one Kellen Moore and one Chester Stewart.
Boise State beat Toledo, 40-15, and Moore hit receivers 40 yards downfield like he was handing off to them. Toledo beat Temple, 36-13, and Stewart tried to hit receivers 20 yards away with the kind of futility that made you think they were 2,000 yards away.
Big difference.
That's why this is going to be a tough game on Saturday. I don't see the Owls' offense getting a whole lot of separation from Ball State, like the high-octane offense of Oklahoma, because the Owls can't hit an open receiver 20 yards downfield to save their lives.
Temple lost to Penn State, 14-10.
Indiana lost to Penn State, 16-10.
Ball State beat Indiana, 27-20.
Forget about Ball State's double-digit losses to South Florida and Oklahoma. Those are teams with sophisticated passing games. Temple's passing game, the last couple of weeks at least, is something out of the Teddy Roosevelt Era.
With Steve Addazio sticking with Chester Stewart, it tells you that he doesn't have any other options. Or at least he doesn't think he has any other options. Mike Gerardi threw a nice deep ball against Villanova and Akron, but he seems like a forgotten man now and I don't know why. Gerardi's ability to throw deep opens everything up for Bernard Pierce underneath.
Temple isn't going to get it done with a lot of short passes, like it did against Maryland. Toledo figured that out. Going forward, Ball State and others probably will figure it out, too.
I'm not exonerating the defense against Toledo but if your offense continually goes three-and-out, it's going to take both a psychological and physical toll.
That means, if Temple wins this game, it is going to be a low-scoring, 13-10, 21-14, type game. Temple is going to have to win this game on the defensive side of the ball.
Forget the Big East.
At least until Sunday.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Addazio needs to find a can opener

In this video, SA goes into a lengthy explanation of why one QB was taken out with a lead against Penn State, yet another was allowed to remain in to throw fuel on Toledo's fire .... NOT!!! Just a few lobbed softball questions.

Bill Parcells said a lot of things best, but this is one of his gems:
"If you are going cook the dinner, they better let you buy the groceries."
Al Golden was fond of another saying:
"I'm going to build a house of brick, not straw."
Much to Golden's credit, he not only built that house with a fine kitchen but  he also stocked it with some pretty nice groceries for the next cook, Steve Addazio.
What Golden forgot to do was get a can opener. He recruited a lot of terrific players, but he swung and missed at the most important position on the field.
There are a lot of nice moving parts on this Temple football team, but one of them is not a quarterback.
At least not yet.
I thought about that a lot while watching Chester Stewart go 9 for 9 in a 38-7 win over Maryland a week ago.
While the euphoria of beating an ACC team was nice, I noted to a friend on the bus home that Chester did not throw a ball farther than nine yards. All nine completions finished with longer than five-yard gains, but not a single throw covered more than nine yards. All were RACs (runs after catches).
"That's somewhat disconcerting," I said. "Other coaches are going to be watching that film and game planning to get him to throw deep. The film don't lie."
Watching Chester Stewart play for four years, it has become painfully obvious to me that he can throw the ball deep but rarely come close to hitting anybody. He's got a gun for an arm, but no scope.
I hated it when Penn State and Maryland fans did not give credit to Temple so I'm going to give a whole lot of credit to Toledo

The play chart told the story of Temple's 36-13 loss to Toledo on Saturday.
With Temple facing a third-and-goal at the Toledo 9, the Owls elected to go with a swing pass that looked like a glorified lateral. That's a telling call by a pretty good offensive coordinator named Scot Loeffler.
Obviously, either Loeffler or head coach Steve Addazio does not have confidence in his quarterback to throw the ball into the end zone on a third-and-goal.
I found it rather curious that one QB gets taken out while LEADING Penn State, yet another QB gets left in there to throw fuel on the fire of a Toledo conflagration

If they don't, then maybe they should have tried another quarterback.
Or maybe they don't have confidence in any quarterback Golden put on his shelf.
On another play in the first half, Rod Streater made a terrific double-move to get 10 yards behind his defender and Stewart either did not see him or was so locked into the middle of the field that he threw an interception. Chester seems to play with blinders on way too many times and that's not good for a quarterback who should be able to see the entire field in a split second.
I haven't felt good about a TU QB
since this guy was under center.
I hope I feel as good about the next one.

Also, the Owls have gotten away from tossing the ball on pitchouts to Bernard Pierce, where he can use his world-class speed to beat defenders to the outside. Twenty-two of Pierce's 24 carries were between the tackles on Saturday. I would think about getting Pierce into open space, rather than run him up the gut but maybe I'm crazy.
Addazio says in the above video that he "liked the way (Stewart) competed."
It's one thing to compete.
It's another thing to make plays.
I found it rather curious that one QB gets taken out while LEADING Penn State, yet another QB gets left in there to throw fuel on the fire of a Toledo conflagration.
Temple needs a quarterback who can make plays and see wide-open receivers farther than five yards downfield.
The film don't lie. Toledo coach Tim Beckman saw the same thing I did.
Give credit to Toledo. There were two teams on that field Saturday. The way to beat a "Temple TUFF" team is through a lot of "trickeration" and I thought the Rockets did that extremely well, taking advantage of Temple's defensive pursuit with misdirection. I hated it when Penn State and Maryland fans did not give credit to Temple so I'm going to give a whole lot of credit to Toledo.
So did Addazio.
Still, quarterback is the most important position on the field.
Right now, until Addazio can recruit one of those fancy spread offense can openers, Temple needs a guy who is good at play-action faking and throws a nice deep ball. He needs someone who will take care of the ball, two interceptions vs. Penn State notwithstanding.
That guy did not start on Saturday.
Hopefully, Addazio will check out the film a little more closely this week and make the same change Golden was forced to make in the first quarter of the Bowling Green game last year.
Otherwise, this dinner party that started out so well is going to cause some unexpected indigestion.