Monday, September 3, 2012

Big East door opens a little wider for Owls

Watch No. 10, Chris Coyer, throw a hellacious block on this play.

After watching the Big East's first non-conference slate of game results, there is an unmistakable conclusion to be made.
Temple CAN win this conference.
Will it?
A lot will depend on getting from week to week injury-free, like the Owls did after a 41-10 win over Villanova and pretty much like the Owls did last year.
Most people had the Temple at Pitt game as "problematic" going into the season.
Now, after Youngstown State's 31-17 win there, it is anything but problematic.
Remember, Pitt is a program with four head coaches in a little over a year. Kirk Herbstreit's pick of the Panthers to win the Big East despite all that turmoil is almost laughable.
Rutgers' fans like to talk about going 12-0, but the Scarlet Knights had a 10-6 lead going into the fourth quarter against a Tulane team that was 3-9 a year ago.
Rutgers, like Pitt, looks very beatable.
UCONN beat UMASS, 37-0, but how good is UMASS? Villanova beat UMASS on the road, 37-10, last year.
South Florida beat Chattanooga, 34-13, but the battling Chatterboxes would have gotten drilled by Villanova by about the same score.
Temple will probably have 35K for Homecoming Day against South Florida and that will be a tough environment for the Bulls to win.
To me, Cincinnati and Louisville are the Owls' main competition, not Rutgers, Pitt, Syracuse or UConn.
One of those games, Cincinnati, is at home. Louisville beat Kentucky, 32-14, but Louisville also lost at home to FIU last year.
Temple plays some key games at home and that could be the difference.
Against Villanova, Temple had 32K of the 33K fans, as Steve Addazio correctly noted on WIP.
"We had 32 thousand fans and Nova had only a thousand," Addazio said. "The Villanova fans were limited to two sections. Temple had all the rest."
If the Owls can take care of business against Maryland and beat Penn State, attendance is set up for the rest of the season and LFF becomes an intimidating place to play.
Since the Owls need every game to become bowl eligible, the non-conference games such as Maryland are just as important as the Big East games.
Addazio said the true character of this team will be how it responds after a big win, such as Villanova, or a tough defeat. I think this team loves playing football and won't have the hiccups last year's team had.
At least I hope so.
Maryland will be another test of Temple TUFF.