Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Temple becomes bowl eligible

Any Eagle fan can tell you what the first words out of a famous Temple football father's mouth will be after a win.
Andy Reid will clear his throat, cough a couple of times, and say:
"First off, any win in the National Football League is a good win."

Deon Miller makes nice catch for touchdown.
That's pretty much how I feel about the Mid-American Conference these days.
Any win in the MAC is a good win and Temple's 24-21 bowl-eligible-qualifying win over gritty Miami (Ohio) was a good way to cap one of the most beautiful November days and nights, weather-wise, I can ever remember in my nearly half-century of living in Philadelphia.
The game was not as perfect, mind you, but pretty much what I expected.
Pretty much what all the Temple fans I talked to in the pre-game tailgate expected, too.
"Twelve-and-a-half points is way too high," I said to pretty much everyone.
"Yeah," pretty much everyone replied.
I thought the defense recaptured a little bit of the swagger it lost in the last couple of weeks (heck, it was hard to blame the defense for the Bowling Green loss) and the offense did just enough.
Game-plan wise, I would have liked to seen more first down play-action passes and not being forced into a situation where you HAVE to pass on third down all the time. I don't think Temple mixed it up particularly well on offense. Then again, compared to last year's offensive game plan, it was pure genius.
Dream remains alive
The ONLY scenario Temple can win the MAC East:
(Updated 11:35 a.m., 11/11/11)
Temple wins over Kent
Ohio loses to Miami (assuming it beats BGSU)
(TU, Miami and Ohio all tied
with 5-3 records but TU wins
on basis of second criteria)
Note: If Ohio loses to BGSU but not Miami, Ohio wins tie-breaker
source: MAC League Offices
There were a couple of silly penalties, one a late hit out of bounds and one an offsides, but those things can be fixed in the next week or so of practice.
I was heartened to hear that people behind me were getting text messages from folks watching at home that their enjoyment of watching the Temple game was curtailed because ESPN cut in for a Joe Paterno press conference.
There is no reason to be living within an hour's drive of the stadium for a Temple home game and watch on TV. If my friends from Palmerton sitting behind me can get by one night of the year on four hours worth of sleep, then so can the Philadelphia couch potatoes who give Temple a bad fan reputation by staying home. I hope they missed a lot of exciting plays because I saw them all. I know Temple has a "softcore" fan base who stay at home and watch every time the Owls are on local TV (ratings indicate it), but that part of the fan base does the team and school irreparable harm by doing so. You can't talk about being in a BCS conference and not travel to a home game.
End of rant.
From a personal standpoint, a highlight of mine was finally getting to meet my favorite player's Mom.
I have three favorite players from the current era, Adrian Robinson, Adam DiMichele and Bernard Pierce, but Pierce is The Franchise in my mind and therefore my favorite. Heck, speaking as someone who saw Paul Palmer play every game, he's flat-out better than Boo-Boo and that's the highest compliment I can ever give anyone. He's faster than Paul Palmer, has better moves and vision in the open field and can deliver more punishment to tacklers. The only facet of Paul's game that was better was his durability.
So Pierce is my favorite Temple player and he has been since his freshman year.
Tammy is Bernard Pierce's mom and while it was sad to see BP not playing (he should be back against Army), it was good to see the entire Pierce family just as wrapped up in the Owls as they would be if he was out there.
Hopefully, when The Franchise finally gets out there, Scot Loeffler will tweak the package for him just enough to get Pierce the ball in open space and not utilize him on "fullback-type"  draws so much. Pitchouts to the wide side of the field and screen passes ought to make Bernard Pierce lethal once again.
Still, you can't say enough about the relief effort of tough hombre Matty Brown. If it wasn't for Matty's 120 yards, there would be no three-point win over a good team.
Even Andy Reid would agree.
Time's yours.