Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Preseason magazines clueless about Owls

  Both Athlon and Phil Steele have the Owls in the basement.

In the same category of a somewhat older guy playing fullcourt basketball with 20-year-olds, falls the wisdom of putting too much faith in preseason college football magazines.
Both are pretty dumb.
I learned the former the hard way on Sunday shooting around on the neighborhood courts. I've always been able to shoot a basketball so every so often I like to take that skill for a spin around the block, like an cherished antique car sitting in the driveway, in order to keep the battery charged.
This Sunday, on the court next to me, there were seven 20-year-olds shooting around. They stopped to watch me as I hit nine three-pointers in a row.
One of them said they needed me to go a full four-on-four.
Against my better judgment and all the good voices inside my head, I said OK.
Shirts and skins, the oldest rivalry in sports. For mostly aesthetic purposes, they put the "old head" on the shirt team.
Since I've been running five miles a day this summer, I thought I could handle it. And I did for three hours of pure fun. I felt fine afterward, fine going home and fine going to bed.
The hard pounding and stopping on the basketball court took its toll and by 3 a.m. the next day, I could not get out of bed. Result: Knee injury.
Common sense said I should have told the kids no, but my pride said yes. Pride goeth before the fall, they say.
Same thing with college football magazines.
Local edition of Lindy's has Silas Redd on cover.

Every time I see one at the local Giant Super Market, I pick it up with the intent to buy it. I look for the Temple references. Giant had Lindy's and Athlon (both $7.99) and a much thicker Phil Steele Yearly ($8.95). One of them, the Lindy's edition in the store (not the one pictured left), had Silas Redd on the cover in Penn State uniform.
I know the Redd thing is a deadline issue, but it was still clueless to put him on the cover knowing that Penn State was hanging under a very dark cloud by presstime.
Just as clueless, they all say Temple is going to finish last in the Big East and they all point to the loss of the starters on both sides of the ball.
None of them say that, in many cases, the replacements are better. Sean Boyle, in my mind, is a better center than John Palumbo (no offense intended, Mr. Palumbo).
They all mention that Bernard Pierce is gone. They just give passing reference to both Matty Brown and Montel Harris, who could be (and empirical evidence shows is) better than Bernard Pierce. None of them mention that Brown was Temple's No. 1 all-purpose runner last year (and Pierce was No. 2 in that category).
They all mention leading tackler Stephen Johnson leaving. None of them talk about his replacement, Nate D. Smith. I'm going out on a very strong limb here and writing that Nate D. Smith will have an outstanding year at MLB for the Owls. If he doesn't lead them in tackles, it will be because all of the Big East running backs will be tackled by the linemen before they get to the linebackers.
None of them mention the Owls know what they are doing on offense this year, running a true spread with three true spread quarterbacks, after fumbling around a year trying to find an offense that best suited the needs of two QBs with limited skill sets.
None of them mention that the Owls have a great kicking game, with maybe the best punter and placekicker in the nation (Brandon McManus). None of them mention that Chuck Heater is considered among the best defensive coordinators in the country, which he is. None of them write that a great running game, quarterback and defense and kicking game are prime ingredients for championship teams. The current Owls appear to have all of those ingredients. A running game shortens the clock and a kicking game wins the battle of field position and maybe steals a close game or two with a long FG.
I know the Owls will be way better than last place in the Big East. I'm hoping for first. If they finish second, it will only be behind Cincinnati, not preseason favorite Louisville. I don't think they will go any lower than that. Pride says I should buy the magazines and shove it in their faces at the end of the season.
Common sense says I should leave them on the rack.
This time, I listened to common sense.
I should have done that Sunday.