Friday, December 9, 2011

One week to the New Mexico Bowl

Temple fans' home away from home in Albuquerque is the Owl Cafe, 10 minutes
from the team hotel.

Heck, it's one week to the New Mexico Bowl and back in August I was off in dreamland thinking it might be another month until the Temple Owls got on the field again by the time December rolled around.
You know, beat Penn State, beat Maryland and then run through the entire MAC to finish 12-0.
Then win the MAC title game to go 13-0.

"I ain't lettin' you go to the NFL because we're going
to be 14-0 next year with you," Deon Miller seems to
be telling Datboy Nard.
Then I woke up with a minute to go in the Penn State game.
Temple never found an answer to its quarterback woes until three games remained in the season (too late) so that dream was busted.
The only other things I needed was Penn State to win the Big 10 and Maryland to win the ACC.
Walla, national title game.
When Maryland opened up with a 32-24 win over Miami (Fla.), I thought that just might happen.
Heck, if UConn, a team that lost by two touchdowns to Temple last year, can really make it to the Fiesta Bowl after that, then I can dream of a national title shot for Temple.
Then they tanked it and Penn State got hit by the Jerry Sandusky scandal and that fell apart.
So no national championship game for Temple, shockingly. No cover of Sports Illustrated featuring Bernie and the Bug. No shot of  Steve Addazio giving Florida fans the finger.
There's always next year.
No Temple and LSU.
It'll be LSU and  Alabama instead.

By going 14-0, Addazio could have
given his Florida critics this finger.
Wyoming and Temple (Saturday, Dec. 17, ESPN, 2 p.m.) will kick off the bowl season instead and that game will be pretty much as important as the 34 other non-championship games.
If Temple wins, the Owls get to take a bowl trophy home for the first time in 32 years.
The Owls can win their own little championship before a sizeable crowd in New Mexico and on TV since they will be the only FBS football on television that afternoon.
I'm cautiously optimistic.
I think the Owls can win by following the Addazio plan (play great defense, run the football, make a difference on special teams and use the play-action pass for explosive gains downfield). I think defensive coordinator Chuck Heater will whip up a pass rush scheme that rattles Wyoming freshman quarterback Brett Smith. He won't let him sit back and pick the defense apart.
I think No. 20, Kee-ayre Griffin, will jump one route and get a pick six. He has that kind of athletic ability.
Wyoming, though, is not a team to be taken lightly and I don't think the Owls will.
Seeing the kids celebrate around the Gildan New Mexico Bowl trophy would be a great way to frame this season after starting with a Mayor's Cup trophy.
It wasn't the dream I started with, but it's the one I have now and it is within this team's grasp.
One week and three hours away.

A special message from Hooter follows:
Create your own Animation