Monday, November 28, 2011

Temple bowl foes: The unusual suspects

Expect Morkeith Brown to be in the middle of the bowl celebration again.

All of this bowl talk reminds me of the shell game on the Jumbotron at Lincoln Financial Field.
You know the one.
Three Temple helmets and guess which one the ball is under.
That's pretty much how it is today, about a week before the official selection Sunday.
Like that video game, there are too many moving parts to make a solid prediction but there are just enough moving parts to know it is a limited pool of opponents to chose from right now.
I'm pretty sure of two things. They are going to have a bowl selection party at the Liacouras Center and everybody is going to go crazy around Morkeith Brown in the center of the room.
Everything else is just speculation at this point. The real bowl is under one of six helmets.
What isn't speculation is the number of teams are mostly unusual foes for Temple football. I like that aspect of the bowl games. Reminds me of the World Series before interleague play ruined that element.
Heck, I'm excited to be playing anywhere but I'm a little more excited about certain matchups.
The speculation:
1) Rutgers vs. Temple, Birmingham Ala. BBVA Compass Bowl _ Two sites have this has the possible matchup. This is very appealing to me for three reasons: 1) Temple is underrated and 2) Rutgers is overrated and 3) It would give Temple another chance to shove it in the Big East's face. Put me down for this one. Army keeps coming up as a common foe. Rutgers beat Army, 27-13. Temple beat Army, 42-14. RU also beat Ohio at home, 38-26, while the Owls lost at Ohio. The Owls were struggling with QB issues vs. Ohio but got that ironed out by Army.
2) San Diego State vs. Temple, New Mexico Bowl _ Should be good weather for this one. The teams have one common opponent and that is Army. San Diego State beat Army, 23-20. Temple beat Army, 42-14. This appears to be more likely than the first one because it makes sense, geographically. San Diego State brings the crowd. Temple brings the East Coast TV ratings. If Temple fans want to go on the cheap, they can take scenic Route 66 out to Albuquerque. It's only a three-day ride. I'll have to thumb it because I can't afford the gas money. Both CNNSI and CBS Sportsline have this matchup.
3) Western Kentucky vs. Temple, Kraft Hunger Bowl, San Francisco _ ESPN predicted this and it makes no sense to me at all. Not because Temple is there, but because Western Kentucky is there. Western Kentucky brings nothing to the table. No fans. No TV ratings. Western Kentucky is to FBS football what Villanova is to FCS football in terms of interest and that is no interest. Temple brings a big-time East Coast TV following. It would make a lot more sense if UCLA is able to obtain a NCAA waiver and compete in this bowl at 6-7. Either UCLA or Cal vs. Temple would be a bowl rematch and a great game.
4) Florida International vs. Temple, Beef O'Brady Bowl _ Plenty of Temple fans in the Clearwater/St. Pete, Fla. area because I run into them every March at Phillies Spring Training. Probably the nicest town (go to Ybor City for night life) and the best weather. I'll take it over any venue but Birmingham. Don't like the foe because beating FIU doesn't do much to promote the Temple football brand. Both teams have one common foe: Akron. FIU beat the Zips, 27-17. Temple won, 41-3.
5) Louisiana-Lafayette vs. Temple, New Orleans Bowl _ Great town, not-so-great foe. See the note on Florida International as far as promoting the Temple brand. The teams have one common foe, Kent State. Temple beat Kent State, 34-16. Louisiana-Lafayette beat Kent State, 20-12. College Football News is reporting this matchup.
Temple fans are still thawing out from D.C. game in 2009.
6) Wake Forest vs. Temple, Military Bowl _ Affords Temple fans the short and relatively cheap Amtrak trip to Washington, D.C., just like 2009. Unlike 2009, it can't get to be that cold again in late December. Average high in Washington that week is 48. Temple drew 20,000 fans despite wind-chills below zero and a real temperature of 11 degrees above zero. Both teams have one common opponent, Maryland. Not much to chose. Temple went on the road and won at Maryland, 38-7. Wake beat Maryland at home, 31-10. This would be a nice win for Temple in front of a big homefield advantage for the Owls. USA Today is reporting this matchup.
Listen, when you are in the MAC and you don't take care of business in three league games, any bowl is a great bowl.
There are just some better than others and I'm rooting for the first or second matchup.
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